Last week I covered five of the herbs that the National Garden Bureau and the Herb Society of America recommend as easy to grow. This week I will cover another five.
Selecting which herbs to grow depends on personal preferences and on your growing conditions.
While herbs do not require the best of everything, the quality and the quantity of your harvest depends on providing what they need.
We will lead off with a multipurpose herb that makes an excellent garden perennial flower, a great plant for cooking, and also for fragrance and crafting.
Lavandula angustifolia — or common lavender — is a great choice as a flower, even if it had no other uses. Plant it in full sun in a well-drained soil. Waterlogged lavender plants do not usually survive the winter, so if your soil is heavy clay, create raised beds or amend your soil to improve the drainage.
As a kitchen herb it is one of the main ingredients in blends of Herbes de Provence. Its fragrance is well-known, and the flowers are harvested to make potpourris and perfume.
L. latifolia — or spike lavender — is used in soap. Essential lavender oils are used to make soap, perfume and household cleaners.
There are many cultivars of lavender including AAS Winner "Lavender Lady," "Hidcote Blue," "Munstead," "Kew Red" and "Gray Lady." Each of these varies in flower color and leaf shape, size and other characteristics.
The plants grow well in Utah. Young Living Farm at Whispering Springs in Mona, Utah, which grows 200 acres of fragrant lavender, is one of the county's largest lavender farms.
Greek oregano — or Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum and its counterpart marjoram or O. majorana — are popular culinary herbs.
They are used in many ways, including stuffing, casseroles, soups, stews, and egg and meat dishes.
Greek oregano is known for its sizzling, spicy flavor, while marjoram is favored by those who like a milder and sweeter flavor. They are both perennials that favor well-drained soil and full sun.
Try garden cultivars such as "Herrenhausen," "Amethyst Falls," "Kent Beauty," "Zaatar," "Greek" and "Hot and Spicy."
Melissa officinalis is better known as lemon balm. This perennial herb needs moist, well-drained soil but will thrive in full sun or partial shade. Keep an eye on this plant because it can quickly become invasive if not contained.
The plant also spreads easily by seed, so cut off the spent flowers before they drop seeds. Many gardeners prefer to grow this plant in containers, as that is a good way to keep this spreading plant under control.
Use the lemon-scented leaves in teas and desserts, or dry them for crafting projects. Cultivars include "Aurea," "Citronella" and "Lime."
Parsley is another common herb that has several uses. There are two types of parsley that are commonly grown in herb gardens. They are common or curled-leaf parsley — Petroselinum crispum — and flat-leaved or Italian parsley — P. crispum var. neapolitanum.
Both types are excellent for kitchen use and are frequently added to soups, stews, casseroles and meat dishes.
Italian parsley is usually the preferred choice for cooking, while curled parsley is the eye-catching green sprig that is often used to garnish a dinner plate.
Grow parsley in a well-drained garden loam type soil. Keep the soil moist because stressed plants become tough and bitter. This plant is grown as an annual or as a biennial.
Sages are perennial herbs that grow best in full sun in well-drained garden loam soil. Not all sages are edible, and some types are only grown for landscaping purposes. These different sage types come in a variety of flower colors and fragrances.
Garden sage — or Salvia officinalis — is the one used in cooking and is an excellent flavoring for turkey, stuffing and sausage. There are several cultivars that have excellent perennial foliage. Cultivars include "Berggarten," "Kew Gold," "Tri-color" and "Purpurascens."
Pineapple sage — or S. elegans — has attractive variegated foliage and produces vivid scarlet-red flowers in the fall. It is not hardy in our area.
Red Butte Garden is offering a free class on weed management and identification on May 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
The course will teach participants how to control the weeds that plague your garden. For more information, call 801-468-3187.
Weber Basin Water Conservancy District is offering a free class titled "Perennial Color All Season Long" on May 23, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Learning Garden in Layton, 2837 E. Hwy. 193. For more information, log on to www.weberbasin.com/conservation.
For more information on events at Young Living Lavender Farm, go to www.youngliving.com or call 1-800-371-0819 or 1-435-623-8006.
Larry A. Sagers is a horticulture specialist for the Utah State University Extension Service at Thanksgiving Point.