Thursday, 16 March 2006

Herbs

This is a list of the herbs I intend to plant in the herb garden this year. I have cuttings, plants or seeds of nearly all of them here and I've grown all of them in the past. It will form the basis of a collection that I hope to add to when it's possible to spend enough time in France to care for properly.

Shrubby - These plants are perennial and structural. They are destined to make an informal hedge around the plot

icedsage

Bay - Well known aromatic. There is already a large tree by the house.
Curry Plant - Mediterranean silver leaved. Lovely smell, not much good for cooking.
Lavender - Lots of varieties. I keep buying tender ones and killing them.
Myrtle - Pretty flowers, strange musky fruits.
Oregano - Essential, needs very sunny spot.
Rosemary - I have six varieties, Miss Jessops, a white flowered one, one described as ‘ginger’ which is probably some other variety entirely, a couple of prostrate versions and a pink flowered.
Rue - Don’t actually have this at the moment but it’s pretty and poisonous.
Sage - Lots of sage, seedlings of the plain variety and cuttings of the purple.
Wormwood - Wormwood also comes in many sorts. I don’t think I have any at the moment but will obtain Artemisias ludoviciana, absinthium, and abrotanum.

Annual - I usually grow the annual herbs in the vegetable plot but that isn’t going to be possible this year as there isn’t one yet.

borage

Basil - Really best in a greenhouse but we’ll try some in a sheltered spot
Borage - This self seeds beautifully once it’s got started.
Chervil - Considered an essential fine herbe this isn’t something I would normally bother with.
Coriander - Needs sowing little and often. Goes to seed very easily.
Dill - Doesn’t like disturbances.
Lambs lettuce - M√Ęche – great winter salading.
Landcress - Spicy and easy to grow, for autumn and spring.
Mustard - Various forms of mustard leaves to add to salads.
Parsley - Flat and curled.
Perilla - The Japanese herb. I find it very difficult to grow against all received wisdom.
Purslane - The thick fleshy summer sort. Fantastic salad vegetable.
Rocket - Everyone’s favourite. Can be tough.
Winter Purslane - Easy winter salad, self seeds and is very hardy.

Biennial

angelica

Angelica - Easy to grow, quite boring to candy but structural.
Caraway - Takes two years to come to seed, always a problem for bed rotations.

Perennial

elecampane

Alecost - Costmary, Bible leaf. Not good for much but I’m fond of it.
Buckler leaved sorrel - I may have lost this, but it’s easy to restart from seed.
Calamint - Shy little herbs, pleasant fragrance, not good for much.
Catmint - This lasts no time at all unless heavily protected.
Chives - Standard stuff. One might add Chinese chives and ramsons in the fullness of time.
Comfrey - Three types of this to move, a Russian blue flowered version, some very vigorous plants from the allotments (basically wild) and a cultivated form that I took from my sister’s garden after she died.
Elecampane - Traditional medicinal herb, striking appearance and Paul’s favourite.
Fennel (bronze) - Pretty and good for bees. Self seeds.
Fennel (green) - Also pretty. Leaves are good in salads if chopped fairly finely.
Horse Radish - Should really be in the veg patch.
Hyssop - These don’t last long but are pretty while they do.
Lemon Balm - Nice enough lemony scent to the leaves but very invasive.
Liquorice - Tender, a novelty. I don’t have any and may not bother this year.
Lovage - A great big bully of a plant, eight feet tall with a great flavour in tiny doses.
Mint - My mints are in disarray. I can probably collect up spearmint, eau de cologne and apple mints but the rest of the collection has gone west.
Salad Burnet - Hardly worth the effort.
Savory - Another in thyme class. Maybe it will like French soil better because it's a useful flavouring.
Sorrel - Easy and great.
Sweet Cicely - My favourite. Looks like cow parsley, liquorice taste to the leaves and seeds. Flowers early.
Tarragon - Mine may have died even though it was in the greenhouse this winter.
Thyme - Not one of my better efforts but we’ll keep trying.
Woodruff - Another woodland groundcover with hay scent and uses in May.

Odds - Don’t really fall into any of the other categories for cultivation purposes.

marigold

Agastache - These are very short lived but wonderfully aromatic.
Babington Leek - A curiosity, never had enough yet to cook them.
Bergamot - This should last a long time but doesn’t for me.
Good King Henry - A chenopod with little to recommend it above others except it is perennial.
Marigold - Like nasturtiums an edible flower. Petals can be used for colouring too. I grow them because they are very attractive.
Potato onion - First year for these collected from HDRA Heritage Seeds group.
Rhubarb - really a vegetable.

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