Perennial Herbs to Grow if You Have Space
Perennialto Grow if You Have Space
Angelica is a tough, tall, short-lived herbaceous plant which likes shady, rich, moist soil and is attractive enough to be planted at the back of ornamental borders where it will self seed. The stems can be preserved candied in sugar syrup. Adding angelica and sweet cicely stems toremoves the tartness and makes it sweeter, but angelica is only worth having in larger gardens.
Bergamot (Monarda didyma) is a neat, knee-to-waist-high herbaceous plant with beautiful scarlet or purple flowers well suited to ornamental areas. The aromatic leaves and flowers make a calming drink once sold as Oswego tea. A few petals can add vibrant colour to salads. Divide the clump to propagate the variety — it is worth doing this andevery third year anyway. Bergamot thrives on moist soil.
Dandelion is a maligned plant, surprisingly health-giving when eaten and does not necessarily cause nocturnal problems. Since it is bitter, it is best blanched first: cover the heads with a flower pot a week or so before you want to use them.
Good King Henry, Lincolnshire(Chenopodium bonus henricus) is a vigorous self-seeder and highly nutritious, but little grown. The leaves and shoots can be eaten as or or used in moderation in salads. Early to grow each year it can provide a good standby crop and is worth having by a pond.
Hyssop is a sun-loving perennial herb and a superb bee plant that gives honey a lovely flavour. It is said to benefitand help to deter cabbage white , but do badly near it. The young leaves were added to salads or eaten with any rich savoury food, but the flavour is strong, bitter and hot, so use it with care. Propagate hyssop from , root division or seed.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) resembles a mint with the same tendency to spread, though not by root but by seed. Compact and dense growing it excludes weeds wherever planted and will flourish almost anywhere. There is a cheerful yellow variegated form especially useful in ornamental areas. Both have a refreshing clean lemon scent, once used in salads, soups and teas, but lemon balm is much better smelt than eaten. In flower, it is beloved by .
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is easy to grow, spinach-like and can be used as spinach or in soups and salads if you like sour flavours. It likes moist, lightly shaded soil and tends to spread. Grow it from seed or root divisions and replant every few years.
Watercress is surprisingly easy if you have clean running water in quantity, though it is possible to get excellent crops with only a trickle running down a water trough. It can be grown in mud but then is much poorer stuff and is best in a clean gravel with sparkling aerated lime rich water. The watercress sold in shops can often be rooted. It bolts and reseeds itself, and is best when regularly replaced by cuttings.