Ten Easy Tips
Thyme For Sage Advice is now on a wordpress blog where you can leave questions and comments about these tips. Go to the blog now.
Ten Terrific Unusual, Uncommon, and Easy Herbs to Grow
Tip: Make sure your soil is well drained if you want successful plants.
This beautiful perennial will tolerate both light and shade, and is also known as the Coneflower. There are several varieties, all of which are a nice addition to your herb or flower garden. Echinacea can easily be grown from seeds or plants. Fertilizing in the summer with a low nitrogen fertilizer (-0- Nitrogen) will encourage bloom. The seed heads are quite ornamental for dried arrangements.
- Evening Primrose
The Evening Primrose, with its one to three foot tall, brilliant golden yellow flowers and spreading habit, makes a statement in the flower or herb garden. This perennial likes the sun and seems to thrive with little care once established. It likes room and "plantlets" will spring up if you allow the flowers to seed, however they are not difficult to remove when small.
- Bee Balm
Striking flowers, from red to purple to white, this plant is very ornamental and a member of the mint family. This is a hardy perennial and will grow from two to five feet tall, and is loved by bees and butterflies. If you have no room for the "plantlets", they pull out easily. Bee Balm prefers light shade, but will grow in the sun, and the flowers are unusually beautiful and dry well. You may find powdery mildew a problem, but a baking soda/water mixture or a commercial product will help. To help prevent the problem from ever starting, avoid overhead watering.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, and YOU can grow it. Some sources say it is difficult to grow, but that is not necessarily true. Saffron is a hardy perennial bulb and blooms in the fall. Be sure to plant your bulbs in the fall, and in harsh climates, mulch in the winter. The plant is a four to six inch tall lavender crocus type flower with orange stigmas (the saffron part). Mark the spot where they are planted for they will disappear in the winter. For harvesting, carefully and patiently pick the stigmas as soon as the flower is in full bloom and dry them on a paper towel. Store in glass. Saffron will multiply similar to other spring bulbs so be sure to divide to prevent crowding. Remember: Leaves appear in the spring and disappear in the summer, and the flower blooms in early fall.
- Anise Hyssop
This is an easily grown licorice flavored plant. It likes partial shade and will send out "plantlets" for the next year. The unique spikes of lavender or white flower clusters dry easily. It grows three to five feet tall and is very attractive in the garden if it is growing with perennial white alyssum or other spring flowers. Anise Hyssop blooms in the summer.
- Garlic Chives
This herb has chive type stems with delicate, pretty white flowers that dry well but remain fragile. It grows from a bulb and is a hardy perennial. While it prefers sun, Garlic Chives will still grow in some shade. Flowers are edible with a mild garlic flavor and the stems can be used like chives. Garlic Chives will disappear in the winter, so remember where you planted them.
- Pineapple Sage
The beautiful, red spiky flower has a delicate presence in the garden and dries well for ornamental use. It is a tender perennial that will not make it through most winters unless moved indoors or protected. It will grow two to three feet tall and the leaves can be used in the same way as mint. Tip: Pinch back the growth at times to retain a bushy look.
- Lamb's Ears
This is a hardy one to two foot tall perennial that will grow nearly anywhere. The soft, wooly gray to white leaves are elegant and beautiful and dry very well, and are the main reason this plant is grown. It is best not to water this plant from overhead or rust may develop. In a mild winter it will continue to grow, but it may become necessary to cut back unsightly long stems, which incidentally will flower and are very interesting as dried ornaments.
This large stemmed plant is one to three feet tall and adorned with lovely star shaped flowers. It will grow in the sun. If you wish for it to stay smaller, grow in a pot in partial shade. Borage will self seed and return each year in many areas. The flowers may be frozen in ice cubes for drink garnishes or sprinkled on salads or treated as any other garnish. Borage will continue to bloom well into the season if the dead flowers are removed.
- Ginkgo Biloba
This is a hardy and attractive deciduous tree with interesting leaves and is very attractive in the yard. It is important to buy male trees only. They can grow up to 70 feet and are a nice highlight and conversation piece wherever they are grown. The trees can be grown in a tub, but they do not like to be crowded, so give the roots plenty of room.