7 herbs for this holiday season


Sweet basil does best with morning sun and afternoon shade. Grow in fertile, wellcomposted soil that drains well. For lush leaves water regularly and feed with a liquid feed once a month. Pinch off the white flower heads to prevent plants going to seed. Purple basil and cinnamon basil are also delicious in salad.


Dill grows 1m high and needs full sun and well composted soil. Don’t plant it with fennel or tomatoes. The fresh leaves are more flavourful than dried. It attracts beneficial insects.


Parsley grows best in fertile soil in sun or semi-shade. It requires consistently moist (but not waterlogged) soil and should be fertilised once a month as it is a heavy feeder. The tastiest leaves are produced in the first growing season, so regard it as an annual and replace every season.


Mint is available in a number of flavourful varieties. Plants spread quickly and grow in sun or semi-shade. They like plenty of water, but well drained soil. For bushy, healthy plants cut back regularly. Check their spread as they can be invasive.


Origanum is a low-growing, frost-hardy evergreen herb. It does well in full sun, in well composted soil that drains well. For variety, plant spreading or upright golden origanum and cream-and-green ‘Country Cream’. All varieties are equally flavourful.


Thyme or lemon thyme is a hardy, bushy little perennial that grows in full sun, in ordinary garden soil. Regular picking keeps plants bushy and prevents them from getting woody. Also grow French thyme for culinary use.


Chives are clump-forming perennials that grow to a height of 50cm, with deep green, onion-like leaves and heads of mauve-pink flowers in summer. Chives grow easily in any soil, in full sun or partial shade and need regular watering.

The Gardener