WHAT IS AN HERB?
There are three generally accepted definitions of an herb. Botanically, herbs are non-woody annual, biennial, and perennial plants that die back each year after blossoming. Another definition describes them as any of the herbaceous plants valued for their flavour, fragrance, or medicinal properties. The third is actually not a definition but a distinction between the culinary herbs and spices.
There are hundreds of different varieties of herbs. Although you can buy them from any local grocery store, it is much better to grow them in your own backyard. By growing them in your own backyard you can assure the long lasting availability of garden fresh herbs. This will uplift the taste and flavor of any dish and will make your gastronomic experience more enjoyable.
The botanical definition includes many plants that we ordinarily think of as weeds (and even eliminate from the garden when they appear) and therefore never cultivate as we do marjoram or sage. Many vegetables and ornamental garden plants also fit this description, but they are not usually thought of as herbs. Excluded by the definition are a number of shrubby and woody plants such as laurel and rosemary, which for centuries have been two of the most distinguished herbs.
More flexible is the second definition which singles out herbs as being useful as flavouring, scents, or medicine. But, because our uses of various plants change as our needs do, a list of plants that could be considered useful will differ from culture to culture and from century to century. Also, this definition does not distinguish fragrant flowers such as gardenias from the fragrant herbs such as lavender and germander.
In cooking, a distinction is made between spices and herbs. Spices usually are considered to be derived from the roots, bark, fruit, or berries of perennial plants such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper; herbs are the leaves only of low growing shrubs and herbaceous plants such as basil, rosemary, and thyme. There are several plants, however - such as some of the roses - which are included in herb listings even though their fruit (rose hips) is used.
Because of these complications in defining herbs, it is perhaps easier to understand their nature through the ways they have been used and thought of in the past.
There are 3 different herbal plants types. Before going towards herbs growing tips, it’s important for you to learn about these 3 different herbal plants types:
These types of herbs live for only one season. This group of herbs includes chives, mint, lemon, oregano, sage, rosemary, basil and etc.
These types of herbs live for many years. Although in winter season they shake leaves but their roots remain alive and in spring season they again bloom into new foliage. This group of herbs includes balm, marjoram, catnip and etc.
These types of herbs live for two years. The first season is for growing and in second seasons seeds are formed. At the end of second season they die. This group of herbs includes plant like parsley and etc.
If you love cooking, you have to grow a range of herbs. With this selection in your garden or in your window boxes, your food will excel. Spring and summer:
•Basil 'Sweet Genovese' (organic) - strongest, sweetest tasting basil you can grow
•Chives (organic) - sharp, oniony flavour perfect for salads and cold soups and pretty edible flowers
•Marjoram 'Sweet' - the best herb with cooked tomatoes, invaluable, for pasta sauces and pizzas
•Parsley 'Giant of Napoli' (organic) - the best flavoured parsley of all
•Savory Summer - a lovely thyme-like herb to grow and eat with beans, beloved by Jamie Oliver Culinary
•Thyme - the well known pretty and delicious herb, ideal to eat with any meat Autumn, winter and early spring
•Chervil - lovely in a winter salad or in simple herb omelette
•Coriander fantastic oriental herb which grows much better in the cold than the hot and dry
•Sorrel 'French' - sharp, citrus flavour which will crop lightly in autumn and early spring as well as summer
•Sage 'culinary' - lovely smoky flavour for eating in stuffing and with any pork dish
Some herbs look stunning in the garden and just like any other plant just grow what you fancy ,one of my favourite is Bronze fennel below