From: PRAKASH 398 on
THE HERB GARDEN An inside look into creating a perfect herb garden

Unlike many other types of gardening, herbs are very inexpensive and
easy to maintain.

The beginner can be an instant success, and as time goes by, develop
into a

master gardener, growing more difficult and esoteric plants. There is
room for

all skill levels, and many different garden situations. In terms of
modern usage,

herbs can be broken down into three different groupings.

1. Culinary herbs 2. Medicinal herbs3. Ornamental herbs

Culinary herbs

First in most peoples minds are the culinary herbs. These are the
herbs we are all most familiar with basil,

rosemary, parsley and oregano, etc. In growing these plants, we not
only provide ourselves the joy of gardening,

but the satisfaction of eating the fruits of our labor. The
flavorings that herb gardens provide to our daily

bread can truly enhance our lives. Ask anyone who has used fresh
herbs in their cooking and they’ll tell you that

dried herbs can't compare. Some are perennial, some are annual and
with few exceptions, all are easily grown.

Everyone can grow these plants, from the window boxes and container
gardens of apartment dwellers, to the

borders and raised beds of country folk. It is one of those simple
pleasures that is an inexpensive luxury.

Medicinal herbs

The next group of herb plants are medicinals. While this type of herb
had lost most of its value to the 20th century world,

one has only to walk down the aisle of your local drugstore to see its
resurgence. Echinacea, valerian, hypericum, gingko,

and garlic are all back on the shelves as medicine. Lavender, roses,
mint, and basil are being used for aromatherapies to

ease the stresses of modern life. We are once again finding healing
from nature. Less than ten percent of new drugs

coming onto the market are entirely man made and nearly eighty percent
are derived from plant material. For the

home gardener however, it is difficult to extract the medicinal parts
of the plant. Echinacea, for instance, must be

extracted by boiling only the roots, reducing it over a period of
hours while skimming off the impurities. It seems

unlikely that most gardeners would be willing to devote the time (and
destroy their coneflower) to make their

own echinacea extract. Realistically, most medicinals now fall into
our final category.

Herb container gardening

My herb garden at home is a container garden. The doorway from our
kitchen opens onto a paved area, so this is the perfect answer for

my situation. All things being equal, I think this is probably the
best style for me. Even if I lived in my own home, I like the

informal jumble of pots by the kitchen door, and I can bring my
rosemary and lemon grass in for the winter with very little fuss.

The different glazes and textures of the pots lend color to what could
have been a very green garden, and containers allow me to adjust

soil mixtures to suit specific plants. Window-boxes are another form
of container with all the benefits previously mentioned, plus the

added attraction of being just outside a kitchen window. To sum up,
containers are easy and fun. I highly recommend this style of

especially to those just starting out.