8 Herbs that will get your culinary garden growing

Updated April 14, 2018

Herbs are the aroma queens of the garden. Just brushing up against them while weeding can make your day. When you cut a mix of herbs and put them in a vase, this same aromatic quality makes your kitchen a culinary delight, and that noted aroma is at work again in all the many dishes that benefit from the addition of herbs. Fresh herbs are mild, while dried are intense. What could be better than to enjoy herbs from your own garden.


Thyme is an all-around player in the kitchen, but it makes its best contribution in French cooking, where its lemony-mint aroma and flavour blends well with elegant sauces.


Rosemary's charm lies in its appearance as well as its aroma and flavour. This beautiful herb is part of the evergreen family and is most at home in warm climates similar to its native Mediterranean region, but it grows in most parts of the world. Meats benefit from a dash of rosemary, along with roasted potatoes and tomato sauces.


The glorious grey-green colour of the sage plant is so admired that it often is co-opted for decor. Its musty aroma and relatively strong flavour give meats an extra punch that takes them into "cuisine" territory.


Dill, or dill weed, blooms in a mass of cheerful yellow flowers. The contributions of this unique-tasting herb make cucumbers pop and omelets interesting. But most of all, dill is used for pickling. Yes, that means dill is essential for hamburgers.


When you want to cook Italian, basil is your go-to herb. From pizza to spaghetti sauce to pesto, it shines through with a flavour that plays well with garlic -- also an Italian must-have.


Italian meatballs just wouldn't be the same without a heavy sprinkle of oregano. Likewise for pizza, lasagna and manicotti. Oregano's robust flavour is the signature of Italian cuisine, and it also ups the ante in Mexican and Greek dishes.


Chives, a part of the onion family, add interest to just about any dish you choose to use them in. Chives often make a welcome appearance in potato salad and omelets and atop baked potatoes.


Parsley's mild flavour works best when combined with other, stronger herbs, such as oregano and marjoram. But parsley's real claim to fame lies in its ability to make food look pretty via its dark green colour and interesting texture.

Related: Top 10 plants for a thriving container garden

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About the Author

Suzanne Topham got her first newsroom job as an editor in the '70s. She spent most of her career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a copy desk chief for the features and national/foreign desks and a travel and style reporter. She also pioneered the position of A1 editor at the Post-Dispatch. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.