Mingling herbs with vegetables and flowers is the traditional way to create an English cottage garden. However, you might also plant a few herbs near the kitchen door so you have the convenience of quickly cutting them while you’re cooking.
Try these traditional herbs for an English garden. Most like a sunny spot unless otherwise noted.
Basil – Ocimum basilicum is an annual that gets up to 18 inches tall. Wonderful for salads and sauces.
Bay – Laurus nobilis – Evergreen shrub which can get over 20 feet tall unless pruned. Hardy to Zone 7. Add dried leaves to soups, stews, beans.
Borage –Borago officinalis is a hardy annual that gets a foot tall. Deep blue flowers are a lovely garnish for salads and drinks.
Chives – Allium schoenprasum is an onion-flavored perennial that grows to a foot tall. Add the leaves to soups, salads and omelets; the flowers add a nice touch to salads and also dry well for arrangements. Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum), as you might expect, have a garlic flavor.
Dill Anethum graveolens is an annual that reaches 2 feet and adds an anise flavor to salads, fish, and pickling.
Fennel – Foeniculum vulgare is a perennial that will add height to your garden, and a licorice flavor to your soups, salads and fish. Flowers dry well.
Lemon balm Melissa officinalis is perennial and gets to 3 feet tall and is lovely in tea cakes, sauces, tea or lemonade. It’s in the Mint family, so it will get invasive – cut off the seed heads before they dry.
Lovage Levisticum officinale is a hardy perennial that can grow to 3 feet. Use seeds for bread or salads, leaves for soups and casseroles.
Mints Mentha species are hardy perennials growing up to 3 foot and can be very invasive. Grow in a container, or cut the seed heads before they dry and fall.
Oregano Origanum species is a hardy perennial that grows up to a foot. Add to tomato sauces and soups.
Parsley Petroselinum crispum is a hardy biennial so it will only last two years. Add to all kinds of dishes and use as a breath freshener.
Rosemary – Rosarinus occicinalis is a hardy (to Zone 6) evergreen perennial that can grow into a small bush 3 to 5 feet. Use for meats, and to flavored butter, oil and vinegar.
Sage – Salvia officinalis gets to 2 feet tall. Use in stuffings, sausage, and pork. Try the leaves battered and fried.
Sweet Woodruff Galium odoratum or Asperula odorata can be used as a ground cover in the shade. It’s traditionally used to make wine or tea.
Thyme the thymus species is a low growing evergreen shrub that can be used in a wide variety of foods.