The Pleasures of a Home Herb Garden

Herbs have been used as curatives and flavorings for thousands of years. Early cultures found that their pungent flavors made food more palatable, that some would help heal wounds cleanly, and others ease pain and suffering.

They were strewn on the floor to release their scents as people walked on them, or carried to disguise unsanitary smells. Early Greek doctors compiled and recorded their herbal remedies, and these became the foundations of all western medicine.

Ancient Chinese, Indian and Egyptians also recorded and used herbs as medicine. Many of these same herbs are in use today by various cultures as their traditional medicines.

Throughout medieval times, herb gardens became important additions to homes and religious centers. Every housewife knew which herbs to use for home doctoring, preserving and cooking. Herbals were written, describing plants and stressing their virtues, both medicinal and superstitious.

It is interesting to note how many of the medicinal herb constituents are part of medicines today.

Herbs, as we tend to think of them today, are plants that we use in cooking, for aromatic scents or perhaps to enhance our health. In the last few years, there has been a revival of interest in and appreciation of herbs. More and more people grow them for their beauty as well as their many other uses. Old favorites as well as familiar herbs are more readily available, both fresh or dried, and in plant nurseries devoted to herbs, as well as seed catalogs.

A special garden is not necessary to grow herbs. These accommodating plants grow successfully in pots on windowsills, in tubs on patios and balconies, or in back yards.

Most people begin with culinary herbs, for their aromatic and flavorful foliage. If you want a culinary herb area, include some of those also with edible flowers and roots. All culinary herbs can be used fresh or preserved in some way.

Herbs can be perennials, living for several years, biennials with a two year life cycle; or annuals which grow, reproduce and die in a single year. Some are small and compact plants, others as large as shrubs. Many have beautiful foliage and blossoms, and can be grown interspersed with your landscaping.

Most herbs like a sunny location, with well drained soil, and you will find that most resist disease and insect infestations.

If you are just beginning your gardening adventure with herbs, a good way to begin is to purchase starter plants from a reputable nursery. You may only need one or two plants of each herb. You can grow these in containers, or transplant them outdoors to a suitable location.

Some of the common cooking herbs should be planted from seed, notably dill, fennel, and coriander. You will generally find herbs quite easy to grow if you take the time to learn the requirements of the plants you decide to grow.

Everyone has their own reasons for deciding to grow herbs; to flavor food, for potpourris to scent their home, for refreshing and invigorating teas or tisanes, for health enhancement or to even to control garden pests. Herb gardens can be a separate specialized type, or you can grow a variety of herbs for different uses.

Whatever your reasons for growing a home herb garden, you will enjoy the adventure, and reap the benefits for years to come.

A Peek Into Home Herb Garden and Selection of Herbs

Herb gardens and the usage of herbs in beverages has been well documented to times as far back as Egyptian civilization. It is a well known fact that Egyptian civilization was well aware of the usage of herbs for curative purposes. Traces of herbs were detected from wine in the tomb of one of Egypt’s first rulers. Our ancestors were shrewd and known to utilize the many faceted benefits from herbs. In today’s world the herbs are even more important for the overall good of the mankind and hence it is very important that we do not lose the legacy and continue to grow herbs in our very own home made herb gardens.

The perfect setting to begin your herb garden journey is to sit by the warm chimney in a cold night with a hot herb beverage and a pile of plant and seed catalogs in your lap. Wouldn’t it be exciting to just think about a bountiful herb garden with the sensuous herbs, climbing vines and glorious flowers? You can possibly cultivate this in a matter of weeks. Selection of herbs for the first harvest has to be simple. Here is valuable information on some of the likely occupants in your herb garden that can become a part and parcel of your home and its centre of attraction.

Sneaky Creepers

Ivies: These climbing vines cling to upright surfaces by roots that sprout from their stems and stretch into any available crevice for support. The vines can be trained to cover forms shaped of wire stuffed with sphagnum moss. They also look fantastic growing over the edges of containers. Oriental Bittersweet: It is a perennial vine and has green foliage, inconspicuous white flowers and orange fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the spring, with a rapid growth rate. The fruit and seed production starts in the summer and continues until the fall. The Oriental Bittersweet is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and can be propagated by bare root or seeds.

Mellow Herbs

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera comes from tropical Africa and is valued for its magical healing effects on wounds, bruises, sunburns and insect bites. It is a succulent plant and has a fibrous root system that bears bell-shaped fleshy yellow and orange flowers. Aloe Vera needs warm climate and prefers sunny locations though it can tolerate partial shade. Always keep a pot of Aloe Vera handy on your kitchen window sill for easy access. You can immediately apply the fresh juice of the leaf blades to ulcers, burns, and fungal infection. Chervil: Although this herb will germinate in the summer fall and live over the winter it can be grown as an annual plant. It grows quickly and matures in six weeks and resents transplanting. Wash it carefully in plenty of water and store it in small frozen packets. It is superb for egg dishes, gives an excellent flavor to them.

Blooming Flowers

Bergamot: It is a perennial American herb that was once widely used by Native Americans and introduced to the early colonists by the Oswego Indians. The plant bears dark pink, red and purple flowers that have pleasant orange smell. The luscious fragrance of the flowers attracts bees and the herb is magnificent as a flower border. Calendula: It adds color to your herb garden throughout summer with a succession of long-lasting blooms. This is one of the prettiest herbs you can grow which requires minimal care. Once it has established itself, it grows from the seeds that fall on the ground and you will see them repeatedly year after year. Borage: It is annual herb that has pinkish blossoms which turn blue like the perennial pulmonaria. It helps to improve the flavor of tomatoes when grown nearby and germinates in 7 to 10 days. It does not fare well transplanting except when quite small. It is excellent, simply irreplaceable when used in tossed salad and gives a most elusive flavor.

In a matter of few weeks, you will be in your own home herb garden, taking your first few steps in it in the warm sun-rays of early evening and your family enjoying homemade seasoned bread and a delicious summer salad tossed with fresh herbs. You will be sipping hot and sweet chamomile tea, all grown in your own home garden. To enhance flavor to the dishes, add young dandelion and salad burnet leaves to the recipes. Observe a couple of bees humming softly and birds chirping near the garden pond, as dusk gently settles across your backyard and home grown herb garden. How does it sound – you are not in a concrete structure, you are in a herb paradise. It is a dream come true.