March 2009
The Herb Farm

Landscaping with herbs: Planning your kitchen garden


Lately, I can’t say enough about using herbs as accents in your landscape. In fact, in my opinion, herbs should be the primary focus of all landscapes. Lay the landscape plans using perennial herbs and then add the annuals. If there’s room after that, you can always put in an Encore® azalea or two.

Let’s start with planning your kitchen garden with a few culinary herbs.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) should be a definite starting plant. Not only is this herb great for cooking, but the blooms will attract bees and the plants are pleasing to the eye in a landscape. Choose the rosemary that suits the plan. For example: Tuscan Blue rosemary grows tall and wide (three to six feet in both directions) whereas, Blue Boy usually only grows to about 12" tall making it a good border plant.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a must for your kitchen garden. Used in soups, stews, poultry dishes and eggs, this herb has a strong value when it comes to culinary purpose. The blooms are also favored by bees and we all know how valuable it is to have them in your garden.

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is also good bee and butterfly attractant. When dried, sage makes a great seasoning for poultry, seafood and soups. Make a bouquet garnet with sage, bay leaves, whole black pepper corns and thyme and add it to your stew while cooking.

Bay (Laurus nobilis) can make a nice pyramid-shaped evergreen tree when kept pruned. In the South (zones 9-11), bay trees can grow as high as 50 feet! In zones 7b to 8b, it is easily managed at eight to 16 feet. Bay leaves are used in many different savory dishes. Used dry or fresh, bay is a plus for any kitchen garden.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a biennial herb used for all kinds of savory dishes. It also makes a great garnish and a nice accent plant as well. Though it is a biennial, it sometimes grows similar to a perennial in warmer climates; lasting three to five years before it dies.

Rosemary and thyme can also be found in prostrate cultivars. Plant these varieties when you need a groundcover to accent your plantings.

This should get you started on your landscaping with kitchen herbs project. I’ll have more suggestions next month, including a list of annual and tender perennial herbs to be used for color and flavor in your garden.

Thanks for reading!

If you have any questions about uses for any herbs, e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and I’ll tell you all I know. As always, check with an expert, like your doctor, before using any herbal remedy.