While we are all familiar with basil, parsley and sage as well as other common herbs which we use to flavor our cooking, there are more plants that are less well known. For instance the bronze fennel which tastes of licorice, the garlic flavored chives and the hot and spicy oregano are just three of the herbs you will find on this list. These nine herbs are described in an article by Tammi Hartung which I found on the Birds and Blooms website.
For those who like to cook and garden, growing herbs offers abundant choices. Handy in perennial or kitchen gardens, herbs can thrive in a range of light, soil and water conditions. Try some lesser-known varieties and you might find the perfect complement to your garden (and your cooking).
Bronze fennelFOENICULUM VULGARE ‘RUBRUM’, ZONES 7 TO 10
Fennel has a licorice taste that’s a delight in some dishes. Most varieties are green, but this fennel has gorgeous bronze foliage that moves gracefully in the breeze. It’s a tall perennial, reaching 3 to 4 feet, with yellow flower clusters that give way to delicious seeds. Fennel prefers full sun and moderate watering. Harvest seeds when they’re ripe to prevent self-sowing.
Why we love it: The leafy parts are delicious chopped fine into green or pasta salads, and especially with tomatoes. Seeds are awesome in Italian sauces and homemade sausage, and with baked vegetables like potatoes and squash.
Garlic chivesALLIUM TUBEROSUM, ZONES 4 TO 9
A lovely border herb, garlic chives are perennial and very hardy. They grow in sun or shade and prefer moderate watering, but tolerate drought or excessive moisture. They reach 10 to 24 inches, with clusters of white star-shaped flowers.
Why we love it: Garlic chives taste slightly stronger than ordinary chives but are not as pungent as garlic. Chop stalks into salsa or omelets or use them as a garnish on soups and noodle dishes. Sprinkle the flowers on a green salad for some zip without overwhelming it.
See more at Birds and Blooms
Feature photo: ROB WALLS/ALAMY