Traditionally used for their medical and culinary properties, herbs are a welcome addition to the garden. Visit our canopied area during the spring and summer to see our lovely selection of aromatic herbs. Plant in a warm, sunny spot outside or create a mini herb garden in an old sink or chimney pot.
We are being encouraged more and more by TV chefs to include herbs in our cooking to enhance the flavour.
Basil to your Mediterranean dishes. Coriander in curries and chutney, a multitude of uses thyme, origami and majoraru
The ever popular Parsley will enhance the flavour of other foods and herbs.
Keeping Herbs Happy
Few plants are as easy-going as herbs. You can pop them in any spare corner and they'll settle in without fuss. Many of the herbs you'll find in our garden centre are evergreen, too, so they'll perform all year without demanding much in return.
But to encourage your herbs to produce plenty of fresh growth for you to pick, it's worth paying them a little extra attention. Follow our top tips to enjoy heavenly herbs all year round.
Improve drainage: shrubby herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme hail from the poor, stony soils of the Mediterranean – and that's what they'll enjoy in your garden. If your soil is slow-draining clay, dig in bagged grit, available from our garden centre, before planting.
Sun or shade? Most herbs like to bake and prefer a spot in full sun, but there are exceptions. Parsley bolts if it's too hot, and chervil too prefers shade. Other herbs for shady spots include lemon balm, sorrel and sweet woodruff.
Sow annual herbs little and often: coriander, dill and chervil are quick-growing, leafy herbs, ready within a couple of months of sowing. Make sure you don't run out by sowing a new batch every month, ready to take over once your first harvest is finished.
Give flowering herbs a haircut: mint, marjoram and thyme flower profusely in early summer, and bees adore the blossoms. After the flowers are over, though, trim back the plants by about a quarter to encourage a new flush of leafy growth.
Repot mint every year: always grow mint in containers, as it's incredibly invasive (sink the pot among your other herbs for a more natural look). To keep it healthy, knock the plant out of the pot each spring, divide and replant in fresh compost.
Bring in frost-tender herbs: lemongrass, French tarragon and stevia don't tolerate temperatures below zero, so each year before the first frost dig them up and pot up in compost with added grit for drainage. Overwinter in a frost-free greenhouse or on a windowsill till late spring.
Please ask the staff in our garden centre for more information and advice about growing herbs.
Herbs for tea
Once you've started making your own herbal teas, you'll be spoilt for tasteless teabags forever. Fresh herbal tea doesn't take any longer to make than a bag in a cup: just pick yourself a generous sprig from the herbs growing just outside the back door, dunk in a mug of boiling water and leave there for five minutes. And that's it: instant, delicious, refreshing and health-giving tea.
There are dozens of herbal teas and tisanes you can make from herbs you'll find in our garden centre, with beneficial effects from helping digestion to aiding memory. Here are the best of the home-grown teas we love to drink:
Peppermint: The herb of choice for an invigorating, refreshing tea that also helps soothe indigestion and clear colds. There are several different mints so try a few for their different flavours: spearmint is the one to go for if you like your tea really minty.
Rosemary: There are those who swear that the secret to their good memory is a cup of rosemary tea every morning for breakfast. Whether or not you believe them, rosemary tea is also great for relieving headaches and kick-starting your day.
Lemon verbena: This beautiful and fragrant herb makes a fragrant yellow-green tea with a wonderful flavour like lemon sherbet. Soak three leaves in a mug and drink just before bedtime to send you off to sleep relaxed and soothed.
Chamomile: You'll need flowers for this one (dry some for winter use). About a tablespoon of flowers steeped in a cup of boiling water gives you a green tea that's both anti-inflammatory, so great if you've got a sore back, and also mildly sedative, helping you get to sleep.
Fennel: A great winter tea, the seeds of tall, stately fennel taste like aniseed. Pop a teaspoonful in your mug and then strain them off like tealeaves for a really refreshing drink that will freshen your breath. It's also said to relieve hunger pangs – great if you're on a diet.