Spring Forward (Into an Herb Garden)

by Laura Knoerr March 12, 2018 2 min read

Moving from standard time to daylight savings time signals spring's arrival is imminent!  I’ve got my seed catalog out. I’m looking. I’m planning. Herbs (especially flowering herbs) are my favorite. What will I try this year?

Most of my herbs are perennials or self-seeders. They will be back! Last year yarrow, fennel, dill, cilantro, oregano, lavender, thyme and calendula shared space around the patio. Yarrow in Laura's Garden

In a another spot, mint, tarragon and parsley jostled each other. Several types of sage, milkweed, hyssop, echinacea, chives, feverfew and more lavender lined the driveway fence. My two rosemary plants spent their winter in pots in a warm sunny window.Tarragon and Mint

Maybe this year, I’ll go Shakespearean with chamomile, cowslip, foxglove, savory, and marjoram. Or, I could go with Medieval-sounding plants like cleavers, compass plant, dragonwort, valerian or costmary. So many choices to enchant my garden!

I confine my herbs to certain fenced-in sections of my yard and near my kitchen door. They tend to spread and self-seed and intertwine to become an herbal jungle, which pleases me. This drives orderly gardeners like my dad crazy. He plants by the row–even his herbs! I do, however, thin out the more voracious plants so everyone gets enough space and sunshine.

Despite good intentions to make my own essential oils or stock my herb cabinet, I've proven inconsistent. Last summer, however, the oregano began to take over more than its fair share of space, so I harvested enough to spice up our homemade pizzas all winter! I also dried several quart jars worth of mint for tea. But generally, my plantings benefit the creatures and my aesthetics more than our table or medicine cabinet. I love the clouds of little herb flowers when they are all blooming and at their peak–and so do the butterflies and bees. (I keep encouraging myself about that although the snow is still falling.)

Considering an herb garden for the first time? They're easy to grow–even in pots on a balcony or patio.  Click herefor a link to the Iowa Extension Office’s article to help first-time herb growers.  Or here for a great article by the Pennsylvania Extension on herb gardening in general. 

Whether you plant by the row, scatter the seed, grow them in pots, or jumble your plants together like me, enjoy the short season of planning before spring bursts upon us! And, while you’re at it, consider incorporating some of these fun floral flags in your garden planning and shopping as well! I particularly like the two featured below (click on the picture to get more info):

Hummingbird Flag

Daffodil two sided flag

By the way, I think I'm going with Chamomile and Valerian! What will you plant?


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