Why grow herbs?
After all they can be bought in a store, right? Yes but fresh herbs have more flavor than store bought herbs and more fresh nutrients. Herbs are easy to grow and have many other purposes than seasoning.
My interest in herbs began when I met a Native American who foraged for herbs. By talking to my friend I learned about herb history and how to collect and use many different types of herbs.
Where I live is very rich in wild herbs and its pleasure to walk the fields and forest collecting herbs for different uses. I feel connected to the outdoors and value my time spent foraging.
There are four basic types of herbs: Aromatic, Culinary, Foraged and Ornamental herbs.
The aromatic herbs produce herbs that have fragrant smelling flowers or beautiful foliage. The oils from aromatic herbs can be used to produce perfumes and various scents. These herbs are often used for handmade soaps and cosmetics.
Some common Aromatic herbs include basil, marjoram, mint and rosemary. Aromatic herbs also work wonderful in floral arrangements, crafts and artwork.
Culinary herbs are herbs that have a wide range of uses for cooking. There are many popular herbs but the best known would include basil, chives, marjoram, mint, parsley, sage, savory and thyme. Basil and thyme are my favorite to grow because they have so many different colors and varieties, plus I love the aroma. I mix these in with my flower gardens all the time.
Ornamental herbs have brightly colored flowers and foliage. Often time they will have white or light-colored flowers, which makes them a perfect addition to floral arrangements. A few of these herbs are chives, hyssop, lavender, licorice, mint, and variegated thyme. Ornamental herbs are where I experiment the most and try at least two new herbs a year. They are perfect for crafting, floral arrangements and art.
photo credit: Zestbienbeautouza
Most people don’t consider Foraged herbs a category but they have such importance in the herbal world. They mix culinary, ornamental and aromatic herbs into one category. They also have wonderful medical properties.
Foraging has introduced me to all the herbs in my backyard and how to use them. It makes me appreciate nature and what it offers. Many herbs are considered weeds to most people and people are often shocked to see me growing Dandelion in my garden. I prefer to forage dandelions but it’s helpful to have a little patch in the garden where I can quickly snip a few leaves.
My favorite foraged herbs are Boneset, Chicory, Dandelion, Hawthorne, Violets, Queen Anne’s Lace and Yarrow. If you forage for wild herbs you must be very careful and know what you are picking. Some wild herbs look a lot alike and some are poisonous.
The other things I like about herbs are their wonderful history. If you look up herbs can find stories dating back to ancient times. Herbs are just fascinating!