These nine no-fuss herbs will assert their independence while you kick up your feet.
Oregano (Origanum spp.). Choose an oregano for the flavor you want from it; Greek oregano (O. vulgare spp. hirtum) is a versatile culinary one. Oregano can spread out a bit, but is fairly easy to control.
Sage (Salvia officinalis). This culinary and medicinal herb grows knee-high, is rock-hardy, drought-tolerant and reliable. The variety ‘Berggarten’ has an attractive rounded leaf, but there are many other nonculinary but garden-worthy salvias to choose from.
Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus). Available in both gray- and green-leaved forms, santolina sports bright-yellow flowers and grows to about 2 feet.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum). An easy onion relative with bright pink pompon flowers, stays to about 1½ feet.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea and other species). With its high center cone and drooping ray petals, this delightful flower and medicinal is available in many new shades. It’s drought-tolerant and easy.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis). Grows in well-behaved mounds about 2 1/2 feet high and flowers in whorls of deep purple flowers.
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). With ferny foliage and yellow button flowers, this fragrant herb grows to about 3 feet or so.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). With its cheery white daisy flowers with yellow centers, feverfew stands a little more than 2 feet.
Rose (Rosa spp.). Let a hardy rosebush anchor a corner, choosing from the undemanding old roses rather than fussy hybrids. Prune it once a year in early spring. Some are huge shrubs, but there are also many smaller varieties available.
Kathleen Halloran is a freelance garden writer and editor living in beautiful Austin, Texas. She sometimes wishes she had a simple garden bed like this one.
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