What’s great about a herb garden is that just as long as the ground isn’t covered in a foot of snow, you can keep on harvesting your home-grown gems. It’s said so much it’s become rather cliché, but there’s genuinely nothing quite as satisfying as enjoying an explosion of flavour your own green fingers gave birth to.
Few plants are quite as easy to grow as herbs – it’s pretty difficult to find a corner of the garden that isn’t a suitable plot. As for getting started, the best course of action is to kick things off with few of the hardier herb varieties, which in most cases are so prolific in their growth you get out so much more than you put in.
And, just as an added bonus, some of the herb world’s hardiest souls are also among the most versatile and delicious!
Here’s an introduction to five genuinely hardy herbs to help get your herb garden off to a flying start:
1 – Rosemary
The undisputed queen of the herb garden, rosemary takes over the hard work just as soon as you get it into the ground. It’s a good idea to give a rosemary plant its own space as you should allow it to become dry between each watering – a rarity among herbs. If you choose to plant your rosemary in a pot, you can simply bring it inside when it’s rather too nippy outdoors and continue its growth for the whole year.
As for enjoying the fruits of your efforts, whether dried or frozen there’s simply nothing like rosemary to bring life to all manner of lamb dishes, or sprinkled on a freshly baked focaccia with olive oil.
2 – Thyme
It is almost impossible to go wrong with a thyme plant and you can go on harvesting all through the winter. This is particularly useful as thyme is the kind of herb that’s just as sublime with a sunny summer salad as it is with a warm winter casserole. You could also try adding a lemon thyme plant to the mix.
3 – Sage
A British classic that compliments everything from chicken to pork to roasted vegetables, set yourself up with a sage plant from day-one and chances are you’ll still be enjoying the results five years from now. It requires time and attention to keep in check, but it’s worth it.
4 – Chives
Versatility and convenience redefined – plant chives in your herb garden and you will never go back to the shop-bought variety again. These little lovelies just keep on coming no matter what the elements throw at them and can bring a wonderful zesty kick to everything from salads to soups to pizzas to poultry.
5 – Parsley
Last up, they’d have you believe that parsley needs to be planted fresh each year, but arm yourself with a strong specimen and this isn’t the case at all. Parsley’s positive effects on the body are too numerous to list and too incredible to comprehend – the fact that it’s perhaps the most versatile herb on the planet serves as a rather welcome bonus!