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Roots and Perennials Planting in Early Spring – Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

When I am away from my garden, it is the herbs I miss most.  If I only had pots to garden in, the top dozen plants on the priority list would all be herbs. There are just so many recipes that depend on fresh herbs to move food from fuel to experience, and it is so difficult and expensive to buy fresh herbs.  And dried herbs just don’t do it in the same way.

And it is the perennial herbs that give me the biggest return on gardening effort. I don’t grow a huge range.  There have been times in my life when I’ve got really excited about them, dropped big hints to get herb books for birthday presents, researched medicinal and culinary uses, sought out seeds and cuttings.  But many just didn’t get used and gradually the range has reduced to the ones I use regularly and would be lost without.

My cannot-live-without perennial herbs are oregano, marjoram, thyme, lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, bay, lemon grass, vietnamese mint, regular mint, greek basil, horseradish, nasturtiums, yarrow and comfrey, the last two used mainly in compost.  Add to them a few annuals – parsley, coriander, culantro, dill, borage, basil, lemon basil, lime basil, Thai basil, chives – and I have my minimum garden.

Early spring is a good time to plant most of the perennials, from seed or cutting.  So today, besides the usual round of beetroot, parsnips, carrots and spring onions, I’m planting out these baby thyme and sage plants that have already spent too long in the shadehouse.  I’m dividing up and refreshing my lemon grass – good time to do it because the wallaby that got in last week radically pruned it for me. And I’ll move some oregano from the spot where it’s getting old and slow to a new, well composted, sunny spot.

And then maybe I’ll go visiting with secateurs.


{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Zara September 18, 2011, 9:11 am

    Our lemongrass is looking a bit dull at the moment. So is now the right time to prune it back? and does it benefit from any other maintenance? It has grown into quite a large clump. Thanks Linda

  • Anonymous September 18, 2011, 11:15 am

    I’m humming that song now… parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme…
    You’ve inspired me to take some cuttings of the gigantic rosemary bush we have at this house before we move. I thought they might grow from a cutting, I’ll give it a go.
    My must-have herbs are: basil, coriander, parsley and oregano. I use more, but these are my faves.

  • MeganK September 18, 2011, 11:20 am

    You have me humming that song now!
    Thanks for this post, you’ve prompted me to take some cuttings from the gigantic rosemary bush we have at this temporary house before we move back home.
    My must-have herbs are: basil, ( I have Greek and sweet growing in pots), parsley (flat and curly), coriander and oregano. Most days i’ll use at least one of these in cooking.

  • Linda September 18, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Hi Zara, it’s a good time of year to divide up lemon grass. Every year or two I dig the whole clump up, divide it, prune right back, and replant with some new compost. The divided roots can be potted up as gifts too. I have been known to chuck a clean stem in the rinse water with my sheets – makes them smell lovely if you like that lemony smell.

  • brenda September 18, 2011, 5:05 pm

    “go visiting with secateurs”


    Is that along the lines of what we call “midnight requisition”?

    brenda from arkansas

  • Lisa September 18, 2011, 5:46 pm

    I am planting more herbs this year than any before, I am just planting what I know I will use. I lovve just walking past and scrunching a leaf or two to smell!

  • Linda Woodrow September 18, 2011, 7:34 pm

    Hi Brenda, no, I’m going in broad daylight with gifts. Promise.

  • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial September 19, 2011, 7:31 am

    Just yesterday, I commented to Pete that out of all the things we grow now in our garden, the herb patch is the one we harvest the most from! We grow (or more precisely, they grow themselves!) rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, oregano and occasionally sage (it’s finicky!) in our little walled herb garden. It’s a tiny space, about half a metre square, but they’re very happy there. I really do think everyone, regardless of where they live, could grow a few herbs!

    In the beds we have continental parsley growing wild, basil (although none at the moment), sorrel, and a large thicket of lemongrass. And around the pots, growing in a border barely the width of a single brick – is an amazing patch of spearmint! Peppermint is in a pot and doing well too!

  • cityhippyfarmgirl September 19, 2011, 1:58 pm

    I’ve got two rosemary (one happy, one not) and one mint in my little pots. I love having them there. Basil unfortunately just gets eaten to stumps by local slimebags and parsley never seems happy either. At least there are two though!

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