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Garden Herbs

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April 5, 2014
With the increased interest in gardening, more home owners than ever have home gardens. Herbs are a popular group of these garden plants and probably are the most misunderstood. Herbs have been used for centuries for flavorings. And believe it or not, herbs just don't come out of those cute little jars. They are also valuable ornamental plants. They can add interest with a wide variety of foliage color, aroma, and textures. Right now the gardens centers have a broad variety of herbs ready to plant into your landscape. Now personally I would grow herbs in containers so they can be placed near the house for easier harvest. I'd like to suggest some herbs that can make any new gardener look like a pro. Dill is a popular choice with its frilly fine textured foliage. This is a forgiving herb that is a popular choice for fish dishes and the flower heads are used for home grown dill pickles. Another fine textured feathery herb is bronze fennel. This herb adds a sophisticated flavoring to dishes. Thyme is a lower growing and trailing herb. English thyme is a common green variety. For color, try either lemon or variegated thyme. Wooly thyme has a fuzzy texture on the leaves. Sage is a coarse leaved perennial herb. The common variety has grayish green leaves, but there are more foliage colors options. Icterina is variegated with dark green centers and light green edges and Tricolor has green, white and pinkish foliage and looks really good in a container. Herbs can be used fresh, or be dried down to store for use on a cold day next winter. Herbs should be picked in the morning when their aromatic essential oils are at their peak. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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