Herbs in the Garden

rosemary blooming

Something I love about arranging flowers for weddings is incorporating native plants and herbs into my creations. Not many of my events pass by without snippets of rosemary, olive branches, or bay laurel foliage. I also love to cut herbs to use in cooking and baking or to bring a fresh scent into the house. In my yard, I have oregano and rosemary growing year-round, and sage and mint that thrive during wetter times of the year. I’ve also had gardens where I grew chocolate mint, lemon thyme, basil, and marjoram for their culinary properties. I’ve had cat mint and ornamental salvias for the flowers and lemon verbena for the sheer olfactory pleasure of crushing the leaves in my hands.

One of my good friends uses a portion of her yard to grow herbs with medicinal properties: wormwood, valerian, calendula, chamomile. Her herb garden is a nod to times when many maladies were soothed with home remedies, and she maintains her herbarium with an eye to blooms and the aesthetics of the foliage (fresh and dried) as well as the potential healing properties of the plants themselves.

Yet a third potential design might be to structure an herb garden around the plants with flowers best beloved by bees, butterflies, and other beneficial pollinators. Bee balm, borage, anise, hyssop, clary sage, and fennel are all appreciated by the insects we’d like to welcome to our yards.

What herbs are growing in your garden, and how do you use them? What’s your favorite herb for the table or for medicinal use?