Holy smokes, I just took a wander through our herb section, it was delightful! I have to say, it is one of the busiest corners of our greenhouse and I see why, it captures many of the senses. As someone who has only ever talked about growing my own herbs, no more talk for me – I am doing it! I love a good mojito and a good plate of, well, actually just about anything and now I am inspired to take my cooking and drinking up a notch.
Herbs are not only great for cooking, as I’m sure you are aware, they can also be useful around the house. Oils can be extracted from leaves for cooking and cleaning, some of our most powerful cleaners don’t come from Clorox, but mother nature (If you’re interested Google the story of Thieves). Herbs are also great at keeping away cats and dogs – try planting some Scaredy Cat in your garden and I bet you no longer have your neighbour’s cat using it as a personal lavatory. Lastly, I am sure you have heard how lavender, basil, citronella and other herbs will help repel mosquito and other insects, can I get a “Dill” yeah?
I took a step past the herbs and bumped into the citrus plants. Oh my, by now I am drooling, as the scents wafting from the herb section combined with the fresh scent of citrus. There is a Thai Lime plant in stock, the leaves can be used for cooking and the fruit can be used to add some zest to many different savory dishes. Are you drooling yet? Okay, imagine you’ve just enjoyed a day of gardening or (if you’re like me) a day on the lake and you are sitting down to dinner. You have a fresh mojito in hand – prepared with mint, from your herb garden of course. Dinner is ready and it is a roasted chicken prepared with fresh oregano, basil and rosemary with a splash of fresh lemon from your citrus plant, potatoes seasoned with dried rosemary and garlic, and a salad all fresh from the garden enhanced with basil, cilantro and mint. I bet you are salivating now!
This wander through the herb section made me wonder, what is the favourite herb out there? Not a simple answer, as I’m sure you can imagine. Here are some of the top picks.
Auggie (our veggie guy) loves the Hot and Spicy Oregano, it’s great for a zesty salsa or a hot chili but use it sparingly. It blends the easy growing traits of oregano with the heat of a mild chili. Leaves boast a traditional oregano flavor, but with greater pungency. Plants thrive in any soil that’s well-drained, as long as it’s not constantly moist.
Vicki, our flower lady’s pick is rosemary. The smell of it while it is cooking is heavenly, the aroma will fill the whole house. It has a taste that matches the scent and it is very versatile. Rosemary can be used in a variety of dishes, it has benefits as an essential oil as well.
Clayton, our nursery guy, chose dill, why? He loves dill pickles! He finds it easy to maintain and grow, and he plants it in his planters so they are beautiful and functional. I’d have to agree, I love dill.
French, not Russian, French Taragon is Carol’s favourite. Carol works out in our nursery and loves this herb for it’s licorice undertones and beautiful flavour. It is great in a béarnaise sauce, says Carol.
As for me, aside from dill, I chose mint. There are so many varieties to choose from, it smells amazing, and I love that it makes one of my favourite summertime drinks, mojitos. There is also a great recipe for a cucumber, mint gin and tonic.
I welcome you to come walk through and experience what I just did. I challenge you to stop talking about having your own herb garden and start planting it. Send us your favourites along with some recipes, we would love to hear from you and try some of your favourites