When you have “Thyme” on your hands

In this fast paced world of busy lives, Herbs pamper us with gifts from the garden. We all know that the garden is good for the mind, body and spirit when we need to unplug. It is “sage” advice to take some “thyme” for yourself and benefit from growing some Herbs. Herbs are easy to grow with some good soil and sunshine. Perfectly suited for containers they can be grown anywhere, even if your space is small.

Herbs are perfect for use in containers with other plant material
Herbs are perfect for use in containers with other plant material

That said I recommend also incorporating Herbs into the landscape with your other plants and flowers. A dash of Lavender, Nepeta, Thyme or Oregano can spice up any landscape with color, interest and aroma.
“Basil” instinct tells us that Herbs in our life provide a lot of benefit. Your garden should give back to you. Herbs do that in a big way. Aside from their obvious “scent”-uous nature, herbs give back to us in countless ways. As soaks and teas, aromatherapy and steams, oils and perfumes, elixirs and medicine, rubs and skin care, treats and colorful garnish, herbs like the garden truly benefit the mind, body and spirit.

Sweet Woodruff is an herbal groundcover used to float or "steep" in white wine (thank our German friends) to make a great tasting white wine for a sunny May day!
Sweet Woodruff is an herbal groundcover used to float or “steep” in white wine (thank our German friends) to make a great tasting white wine for a sunny May day!

Start with a good lightweight growing mix and a good sized container. Pick a sunny spot and you will be in your ele-“mint”. No need for lots of fertilizer, over-watering and over-fertilizing weakens the plants and diminishes the oils in their aromatic foliage. Remember that herbs are a collaborative sort, often making great companions with vegetable plants. I don’t have scientific proof but I can tell you I am convinced that tomatoes off the vine taste better when basil is planted nearby.

Affordable and fun to grow
Affordable and fun to grow

Here are some herb suggestions for you from my garden and the benefits they provide me.
Basil….uplifting and energizing. Make me think of summer and fresh tomatoes.
Borage….easy to grow, a good companion with a cucumber like aroma
Chamomile….soothing with a sweet apple fragrance
Hops….amazing visual impact in the landscape
Lavender….beautiful flowers, healing and rest
Lemon Balm….aroma, rest, cleansing
Mint….stimulating and cleansing. And invasive…grow only in containers
Parsley….Healthy refreshing edger or border
Rosemary….Aroma, strong pine like fragrance. Perfect late season herb.
Sage….Rich, earthy, appealing foliage
Thyme….decorative, stimulating and collaborative
Oregano….spice of life, great groundcover or container edge or trailer
Nepeta and Catmint….pungent aroma and long lasting bloom.

A matter of Thyme

It’s planting season. You know it was only a matter of thyme. Herbs are a fun way to get your hands in the dirt and play. Herbs are com-“plant”-able with containers liking warm soil and plenty of sunlight. Containers can be moved inside if needed on frosty April evenings.  Containers will also hold rambling herbs like the various Mints in bounds as opposed to running rampant in your garden beds. Herbs have been used through “thyme” and memorial by the Greeks, Egyptians and ancient Romans as well as the Chinese. Nothing new here. Herbaceous plants have been used for flavorings, scent, food and medicinal purposes for centuries. Herbs and there aroma can trigger some of the strongest and enduring memories for a gardener….we never forget a good whiff. For me it’s Cilantro, a favorite, along with Basil, Lavender and Oregano and Nepeta. How about you? Parsley? Chocolate or Lemon Mint? Regardless it’s “grow” time when you use a good quality container soil and containers that are sizeable enough for root mass but not too large to move into the sun or under cover in the event of a frost event. Some people will tell you not to feed the herbs in your container or they will lose their scent and oils. My position is to feed them, but do it with a slow release fertilizer designed for container growing like Osmecote. You may want to also add a few crystal polymers to the soil to help you with watering even though herbs are more tolerant of some water neglect than other herbaceous plants. The idea is to avoid high nitrogen and quick release fertilizers when growing herbs.

Finally make sure to add a few flowers with your herb container. I like a few edible Pansies or Violas like this one called “Blueberry Thrill.” Another great edible flowering plant to add would be Nasturtiums. If you have some “Thyme” on your hands and a container Herbs may be the answer to get you growing!