Herbs to Grow

Rosemary is a woody evergreen shrub that grows up to 2m high, with aromatic, needle-like foliage. It produces blue or white flowers in spring and autumn, and can be clipped into hedges, shaped as topiary or pruned into a standard. It does best in full sun, well-drained soil and with not too much water. Rosemary adds zest to lamb and chicken dishes and also flavours syrups, sauces, dressings and marinades. Use the flowers and leaves to make a tea for drinking to relieve mild depression and as a tonic to overcome chronic illness.

Horseradish is a clump-forming perennial with a deep, fleshy taproot and bright green oblong leaves and white flowers in spring. It needs full sun and regular watering. It prefers moist soil but will grow in most conditions. Once established it grows vigorously, dies back in winter, but produces new growth in spring. The leaves and roots have tonic properties, for use in helping to overcome bronchial infections, catarrh and coughs.

Thyme and lemon thyme are small, compact, shrubby perennials growing to 30cm. Lemon thyme has small, bright green-yellow leaves that are lemon scented. Another excellent culinary thyme is French thyme. Thyme flowers in spring with pale mauve or white flowers, and grows best in full sun, in soil that drains well. All thymes are generally frost hardy but can do with protection in winter. They also grow well in containers. Use thyme to flavour potjiekos, casseroles, sauces and marinades, eggs and cheeses. An excellent first-aid herb for winter as it helps to alleviate colds, flu and other respiratory infections. Make a tea and drink three times a day.

Italian parsley is larger and hardier than traditional parsley. It grows up to 80cm and has smooth, dark green flat leaves. It is a frost-hardy biennial that is often grown as an annual. It grows in full sun or partial shade and does best in moist, well-drained soil. It can withstand cooking, for adding to soups and stews, or can be chopped and used as a garnish for vegetable dishes, salads and egg dishes. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, have antioxidant properties and help to relieve kidney and bladder infections if drunk as a tea.

For more information on herbs visit Healthy Living Herbs

The Gardener