Herbs glorious herbs!

Selection of culinary herbs displayed on ladder including thyme, sage, oregano and parsley - © Juliette Wade/GAP Photos

Selection of culinary herbs displayed on ladder including thyme, sage, oregano and parsley – © Juliette Wade/GAP Photos

Herbs may be a practical choice but that’s no reason not to show them off. Groups of container grown herbs given the sunshine and conditions they love, will happily show off for you. Use a vintage wooden step-ladder as decorative shelves placing the more aromatic herbs higher up to ensure you catch their scent as you pass.

Detail of a thyme wheel with lemon, creeping, golden, Cilicius, Coccineus, Doone Valley and Drucet thymes - © Clive Nichols/GAP Photos

Detail of a thyme wheel with lemon, creeping, golden, Cilicius, Coccineus, Doone Valley and Drucet thymes – © Clive Nichols/GAP Photos

Make an attractive feature of your herbs with a herb wheel; popularised by the Victorians, this is a practical and attractive garden feature. Essentially a formal garden feature but there is no reason why you need to stick to tradition. If space is at a premium, consider creating a container mini herb wheel or garden. Herbs prefer a sunny, sheltered spot and well-drained soil. If using a metal container you need to drill holes in the bottom to avoid water logging in wet conditions.

Potager with raised beds of vegetables and lavender, bench and thyme path - © GAP Photos

Potager with raised beds of vegetables and lavender, bench and thyme path – © GAP Photos

If you do have space, why not create a potager – of French origin, a potager is an attractive garden of vegetables, herbs and flowers, often edible – arranged to be aesthetically pleasing. Choosing plants for their beauty as much as their flavour is key to creating a potager so plan which colours and textures will compliment each other – for example, the deep coloured purple sage leaf will look stunning beside the lime green feathery fennel.

Herb garden with Mentha, Aloysia triphylla, Thymus, Lavandula, Satureja, Helichrysum, Origanum and Hyssopus - © Friedrich Strauss/GAP Photos

Herb garden with Mentha, Aloysia triphylla, Thymus, Lavandula, Satureja, Helichrysum, Origanum and Hyssopus – © Friedrich Strauss/GAP Photos

Another larger option is a herb garden. Often influenced by a traditional plan of beds intersected by geometric paths, with a fountain or ornamental feature in the centre, herb gardens of this type date back to medieval Europe and in particular Benedictine monasteries.  The design is still in use as it makes the cultivation and harvest easier. Or you could just allocate one bed or border to herbs.

Herbs planted in a metal trough - © Rob Whitworth/GAP Photos

Herbs planted in a metal trough – © Rob Whitworth/GAP Photos

Wherever you choose to grow them, do – they really are some of the most rewarding plants