Herbs make a great addition to your garden, combining attractive display with practical uses. Popular for centuries, many herbs are surrounded by myths, lore and historical fact. We’ve taken a look at a few here. One word of warning, do not try to make herbal remedies yourself. If you are interested in exploring this area, consult a professional herbalist.


  • The word ‘herb’ originally meant a plant that ‘lacked persistent above ground parts’. Now its meaning is based not on how it grows but how it is used. If a plant has medicinal or culinary uses, it is described as a herb.

  • You can make your own herbal teas. Place the chopped up leaves of mint or lemon balm, for example, in a tea pot, pour hot water over them, and allow the infusion to steep for around five minutes before pouring.

  • The second part of a herb’s botanical name gives some indication of its properties or how it was used. For example, odoratus means fragrant, tinctorius refers to colouring or dyeing.

  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been cultivated since the 16th century as a herb. Research carried out at Newcastle Hospital found that it may help stimulate the memory, a property that was noted in the 18th century by John Hill.

  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) was voted Herb of the Year 2000 by the International Herb Association. It symbolizes fidelity and was often used at weddings.

  • Borage (Borago officinalis) is said to cure hangovers. Its leaves taste of cucumber and make a pleasant addition to summer drinks; its flowers can be added to salads and deserts. It’s also a great plant for attracting bees to your garden.

  • The leaves of coriander (Coriandrum sativum) are sold as a herb, its seeds as a spice. It is native to India and the Mediterranean, but the discovery of seeds in a Bronze Age hut in Kent revealed that it made its way to England several thousand years ago.

  • In Greece newly wed couples carried posies of marjoram (Origanum vulgare), which was thought to be a love charm. It was also grown on tombs to help the dead find peace. An old wives’ tale has it that a mixture of marjoram and thyme hung in a dairy will prevent thunderstorms from turning milk sour.

  • In addition to making a brilliant summer display, the flowers of nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are delicious in salads (they have a peppery taste), whilst the buds, soaked in vinegar, make an excellent alternative to capers.

  • According to Greek myth, the nymph Mentha was turned into a low-growing plant by Proserpine, who was jealous of her husband Pluto’s interest in the girl.

  • Bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) can be used to produce coloured dyes in shades of brown, yellow and green.

  • Sprigs of wormwood (Artemisia) will prevent moths from eating your clothes.

  • The name for dill (Anethum graveolens) is thought to derive from the Norse word ‘dylla’ meaning ‘lull’. Dill was an ingredient of gripe water, which was used to calm babies and small children.

  • A pillow of dried lavender and hops can assist sleep.

  • During the Great Plague in the 17th century, people carried herb pomanders in the belief that the illness could not spread through scented air.

  • The petals of the marigold (Calendula officinalis) flower can be used to colour rice and be eaten in salads. Planted in a vegetable patch or kitchen garden, it will deter greenfly from infesting other plants.

    Visit our Superstore to see the attractive lavender and herb collections we have on offer.

    We can also show you how to plant a perennial in a container.


    Click to view  Herb Seeds for sale  in our online store

    Bookmark and Share

    Other Gardening Fun Articles
       2000: Goodbye To All That        Barefoot On The Lawn
       Bonfire Night        Christmas Already
       Christmas Carol        Christmas Carol
       Christmas Decorations        Christmas Decorations
       Christmas Quiz        Christmas Quiz
       Community Gardens        Dark-leaved plants
       Did You Know... About Bulbs?        Did You Know... About Hampton Court
       Did You Know... About Herbs?        Did you know... About Roses
       Did You Know... About Tomatoes        Did You Know... About Trees?
       Did You Know... About Xmas Traditions?        Did You Know... Plants' Exotic Origins
       Exploding the Makeover Myth        Exploding the Makeover Myth
       Gifts for Gardeners - My Garden Valentine        Goodbye Garden
       Guilt-free Souvenirs        Holiday Competition Prizes
       Holiday Competition Winner        Holiday Competition Winner
       Hooked!        Hooked!
       Know Your Rights!        Less Work, More Fun
       One Man and His Shed        Out With The Old
       Painting Patterns        Playing With Nature
       Psychology of Colour        Quotes of the Year
       Reflections and Resolutions        Spooky Hallowe'en!
       What's In A Name        What's In A Name?
       Wildlife Ponds        Window Box Traumas
  • Already a member?
    Sign in here

    It's Good to Share...

    Best Sellers