Growing Ornamental Herbs in Your Landscape

Growing Ornamental Herbs in Your Landscape
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Growing Ornamental HerbsMany herbs are not only useful, but extremely ornamental. They can be mixed in with your landscape in beds, borders or anywhere you want some interesting color or texture. Below are some of my favorites that are easy to grow.

Tricolor Sage Herb, Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor', has pretty foliage that has a mixture of purple, green, and white with a mottled look. It's an easy to grow perennial that likes full sun and a dry soil. This is perfect for a dry sunny spot that many other things won't grow in! Trim it back in the spring and during the summer to keep it neat looking. It's hardy to Zone 5, but may be okay in Zone 4 with some protection. Another great thing: you can use it just as you do regular sage!

Calendula is one of my favorites! Super easy to grow in full sun and a fairly good soil. It's not completely drought tolerant, but doesn't need much extra watering. Calendula is also known as Pot Marigold, but is not a marigold and I like it much better. It's an annual, but reseeds each year. The colors are bright and cheerful. They are similar to daisies, and can be direct seeded once the soil warms. Calendulas grow up to 18 inches tall, and will bush out once they really start growing. Keep the plant deadheaded and it will bloom all the way till autumn! I grow them with my flowers and with my herbs.

Creeping thyme, Thymus serpyllum, is great as an edging plant or will work wonderfully in rock gardens. You can even plant it in a pathway! The flowers are in shades of lavender, red, rose, or white and they bloom in the late spring and again in the summer. Give creeping thyme a well drained soil and full sun or a little bit of shade. You can direct sow the seeds on the surface covering with about an 1/8 inch of soil, or you can just rake it into the prepared area. After it blooms cut it back to help it look neat and grow better.

German Chamomile, Matricaria recutita, grows up to 2 foot tall and is covered with charming yellow flowers. It can be direct seeded after the frost is past. A well-drained soil in a sunny location with plenty of room to spread is perfect for this herb. If you have a sunny corner in a flowerbed or near a fence give it a try. The plants are fragrant and pretty.

Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum, is a lovely perennial herb that can be used as a ground cover. If you haven't grown this it's hard to explain how pretty it is. The leaves are bright and glossy--the green is very fresh looking, and the blooms are tiny, star-shaped, and white. I planted mine in the flower bed beneath my peonies, and the first year it grew very slowly, but this year it's really taking off and spreading. Sweet woodruff is so dainty that I don't mind the growth. Do use it as a ground cover and place it where it can spread. It likes a moist soil with partial shade--even a woodland location. But I found if I water it well during dry spells it's fine.

Image: Creeping Thyme,


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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