Herbs have been used for centuries, and will continue to be used - all over the world - for the very simple reason, that they have known medical properties, and that generally, they have bought the human race this far in time. Manufactured 'cures' from the drug companies are relatively new stuff - most having been introduced during the last twenty years!
Herbs have a variety of uses - culinary, medical and aromatherapy to name a few. It is unfortunate that there is a little bit of mystique about Herbs. We hope to be able to present the facts, with full scientific/medical research to prove the points.
Herb gardening is once again gaining in popularity as we are re-introduced into the relative low maintenance aspect of having a herb garden - and also see that many of the herbs can simply be grown as flowers! Yes!
They actually look nice - either as a self contained herb garden, or used in conjunction with shrubs and perennials. many of the perennials we know are basically herbs anyway!
The herb garden on the left - RHS Wisley - is proof that herbs can be interesting when grown for either ornamental or traditional healing reasons. It is possible to have herbs in growth for most of the year, and for many to be flowering throughout the traditional gardening months of March through until October - or later.
Anyone can grow herbs. Kids especially, can be introduced into gardening by the simple act of sowing a dish of mustard or cress - and then being allowed to fill their sandwich with the resultant sprouts! More to the point, is that herbs can be grown almost anywhere; garden, window box, container, windowsill, old boot, sun, shade, dry bank, boggy area. In fact anything that stands still!
Even if grown just as 'Plants' there should be room for a wide range of herbs in any garden - or patio container.
There are herbs for almost any situation in the garden, but a specific herb garden should not be overlooked. We will help you how to plan it and then go about it. Herbs are not the dowdy things of years ago. Many ornamental herbs exist - with good foliage effect. Some are evergreen, some deciduous, some herbaceous and some hardy perennial. There are of course also annual herbs, biennial herbs and tender herbs. To add to that, they can be grown indoors in the kitchen, and bought ready grown from many supermarkets. Visit a herb garden - the is bound to be one in the county or state that you live. Owners of herb gardens are almost universally helpful in wanting to advise or generally talk about the herbs that they grow.
One big advantage of herb gardening, is the fact that it is so easy to propagate herbs - even Parsley from seed! Herbs are almost universally easy to grow and propagate. They can be propagated from cuttings, seeds, divisions, bulbils, in water, in the green house or in a cold frame.
Herbs rarely suffer from the myriad of garden pests that are attracted to non-herb plants. Aphids are a bit of a problem on new shoots (of everything) but herbs are normally trouble-free. Perhaps that is why many 'herbal concoctions' were so successful in past years for controlling pests on other plants. Nowadays, it is illegal to make your own herbal mixture for pesticide use! It is not illegal to splatter your plants with many man-made chemicals of course!
Never forget that we (mankind) got as far as we have by using herbs for eating and healing. There was no National Health - or even easy access to doctors until after 1940. We got that far with the use of herbs! In the days of 'conversation' advice and information about herbs was freely available and handed down through generations.
Nowadays, the multi-national drug companies provide the 'cures' for most ailments. There are new drugs bought into use every year, yet herbs are still a realistic alternative, and form part of a deeper, holistic way of life. Scientific evidence supports the use of many herbs for a number of complaints. Throughout the 'developing' nations, herbs are still the mainstay of curative medicine. The multi-nationals are working hard to change that way of life. There is little profit in the continued use of herbal preparations! Many drugs and medicines are manufactured to 'imitate' the chemicals naturally found in many herbs. As they say - "imitation is the best form of flattery!"
Herb seeds have been discovered in late stone age
settlements, and the Chinese described medicinal plants and herbs from as
early as 3000 BC - that's five thousand years ago. We probably owe our very
survival in no mean part to the knowledge base of advice and information
about herbs that was built up thousands of years ago. Much of that herbal
advice and information, has been preserved by folklore and written word over
the centuries. We aim to re-discover that database of herbal knowledge, and
put it to good use.
Even animals - or at least those fortunate (?) enough not to have access to a vet - use herbs (plants) to cure themselves of all sorts of ailments! Surely we are as clever as these animals.
The growing and use of herbs is shrouded in mystique - probably as a result of historical uses by witches, and witchdoctors. Read the information we have here and follow our advice about herb growing and we should be able to dispel some of the mysteries that surround Herbs and Herbals!
Herbs are grown the world over for use in cooking and healthcare. They are also grown for their natural beauty! Each continent or country has its own different herbs, but almost always, they are an integral part of the cuisine, health and culture of that country. In the west, we seem to demand that everything that flavours comes out of a pot - rather than something that we put into a pot (cooking). There is herbal life beyond new potatoes with mint or lamb with mint sauce. Open your minds - go forward again to the past! You won't ne disappointed.
See our full A - Z Listing of Herbs here
Read about the History of Herbs
Let's get started on our Herb Garden
By now - hopefully - you will have realised that there in no excuse for not growing herbs - or at least one of your favourite ones in a pot somewhere! Use your imagination. Anything goes with herbs. They are not out of place in a shrub border. In fact, some of them are classed as shrubs. Sages and Perovskia to mention two, and I suppose we should throw in the all time favourite - Lavenders!
Herbs have a rightful place growing in the herbaceous border, for many of them are dual purpose - the Salvia - sage - group - and of course what herbaceous border would be complete without a few plants of Echinacea or Bergamots growing in them. The rose bed is a natural habitat for either low growing Thymes or lavenders. And any crack in a wall or paving is alright for low growing Thymes or other 'tread-able' treasures. And if its 'aroma' that you are after, then brushing up against the curry plant - Helichrysum will take a lot of beating.
So! Let's go Herb Gardening.
By David Hughes - firstname.lastname@example.org