Versatile Herbs.

first_imgWhen you think of herbs, you usually picture holiday dressingseasoned with sage or spaghetti sauce spiced with basil and oregano.But herbs can be useful beyond the kitchen.”Most people have heard of chives, basil and thyme, butthere are thousands of herbs out there,” said Eloise Connolly.Connolly experimented with herbs in her home garden and learnedthrough training as a University of Georgia Master Gardener. TheMaster Gardener program is an extensive training offered throughthe University of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.Imagine the PossibilitiesTo make herbs work for you, Connolly says, open up your mind.”We all know chives are great on baked potatoes, but didyou know they can totally transform the taste of hashbrowns?”Connolly told a “Lunch and Learn” audience at the GeorgiaExperiment Station Research and Education Garden in Griffin, Ga.Herbs can provide essential vitamins, too. Parsley is stereotypedas a dish-decorating herb, but it’s also a source of Vitamin C.”A quarter-cup of parsley in your daily diet providesthe recommended amount of Vitamin C,” Connolly said. “TheItalians have used it for years as the first ingredient in theirrecipes.”Tansy, a lesser-known herb, was often used in puddings andcakes in the late 1600s. Today, “I dry it and hang it inmy closets to keep the bugs away,” she said. “It’s alsowonderful for dried flower arrangements, as the yellow flowersstay yellow.”Homemade TeasConnolly makes herb teas, too. Lemon balm and lemon mint areamong her favorites.”I once made Celestial Seasonings’ Red Zinger tea usingingredients from my herb garden,” she said. “Next, Iplan to make lavender cookies and herbal tea from my private recipe… for my gardening friends.”Connolly has another use for lemon balm. “I cut huge bouquetsof it, and the smell permeates my whole house,” she said.”It’s great for marinating fish, too.”For a new twist, try planting a thyme lawn.”I first saw one at the Herb Store in Fall City, Wa.,and I just fell in love with it,” Connolly said. “Icame home and planted one in my home garden. Thyme makes the bestground cover and the most beautiful lawn you’ll ever see.”Connolly has also planted a mint lawn. “I just let themint take over an area and I mow it back now and then,” shesaid. “When I’m finished mowing, I sit back and enjoy thewonderful smell.”Drought ResistantAnd if you’re tired of the drought killing all your landscapeplants, try planting some rosemary.”It’s one of the few plants that can survive Georgia’sdrought,” Connolly said. “It likes dry soil and producesthick, blue flowers that the bees just love.”Herbs don’t have to be planted in rich soils, either. Theygrow well in poor soils. And if you don’t have a large gardenarea, you can still grow herbs. They’re perfect container plants.As with all plants, gardening with herbs involves trial anderror.”Herbs, like other plants, have a life span all theirown,” Connolly said. “And sometimes they die and haveto be replaced. And it’s not your fault when they die.”Use caution, though, when experimenting with herbs.”Some herbs are dangerous and can be toxic if eaten,”Connolly said. “Don’t just go by appearance. A friend oncegave me a plant she thought was Queen Anne’s Lace. It took metwo months to identify it, but I discovered it was hemlock.”last_img