Garden Spaces: Grow These Herbs for Dought and Humidity

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<p>• Rose (<em>Rosa</em> spp.). So many to choose from, and they do well in the South if they have adequate drainage. Go for a big, tough shrub rose or vigorous climber that you can tie onto a trellis. One favorite is ‘Mutabilis’, a china rose (<em>R. chinensis</em>) with blooms that change colors as they age; it can grow to 6 feet or more.</p>
<p>• Purple coneflower (<em>Echinacea purpurea</em>, <em>E. angustifolia</em>, many varieties and hybrids). This native perennial, an important medicinal herb, is also a garden favorite. Now available in a wide array of colors and growing habits, it reaches 1 to 2 feet and is hardy in much of the United States.</p>
<p>• Rosemary (<em>Rosmarinus officinalis</em>). What can be a tender, fussy, disease-prone potted plant in the North is a showy landscape plant in mild climates. There are many varieties and hybrids, some upright and some low-growing sprawlers. It has culinary, medicinal and cosmetic uses.</p>
<p>• Bay laurel (<em>Laurus nobilis</em>). This tender perennial is an evergreen tree in warm Southern climates, but elsewhere it is grown in containers and protected during the winter. It is a favorite culinary herb from the Mediterranean.</p>
<p>• Lemon balm (<em>Melissa officinalis</em>). Being a mint family member, this hardy perennial herb can be a bit aggressive in the average garden so is a good candidate for a container. The luscious lemon fragrance makes it great in the kitchen, but it is increasingly noted for its medicinal value.</p>
<p>• Chives (<em>Allium schoenoprasum</em>). A perennial favorite in both the garden and the kitchen, these tidy foot-high clumps of strappy leaves show off bright pink pompon flowers in early spring. Will seed itself around the garden, but not in a troublesome way.</p>
<p>• Sage (<em>Salvia officinalis</em>). This is a carefree culinary/medicinal/cosmetic plant for the traditional herb garden. It is a small shrub, about 2 feet tall, and comes in a variety of color patterns and leaf shapes, including the handsome, rounder-leafed ‘Berggarten’.</p>
<p>• Chamomile (<em>Chamaemelum nobile</em> and <em>Matricaria recutita</em>). These are two plants with look-alike flowers, the first a low-growing perennial (called Roman chamomile), the second a taller annual known as German chamomile. Both have myriad uses.</p>
<p>• Lavender (<em>Lavandula</em> spp.). Many species and varieties are available of this invaluable cosmetic herb that also plays a minor role in both the kitchen and the medicine cabinet. In the South, you can grow<em> L. stoechas</em>, with its showy purple bracts, and L. dentata, with its ferny leaves, as well as the more traditional English lavender (<em>L. angustifolia</em>), but good drainage and not wetting the leaves are critical.</p>
<p>• Oregano (<em>Origanum</em> spp.). No herb garden (or pizza) is complete without this perennial herb, as well as its annual cousin, marjoram. It’s a wide-ranging genus with many different fragrances and forms, most staying under about 1 1/2 to 2 feet.</p>
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<em>Kathleen Halloran is a freelance writer living in beautiful Austin, Texas.</em>
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<strong>Garden Spaces: Plant Pretty, Drought-Tolerant Herbs</strong>

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