The magic of herbs

Growing herbs is gaining popularity whether people are looking for alternative medicines, to add fresh flavor to their favorite dishes or concoct a natural beauty product.

Cranbrook House & Gardens, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

By definition, herbs are any plants that are used for food, flavoring, medicine or fragrance. They can be perennial, biennial and annual. Some have striking flowers, interesting leaf colors or patterns and others are quite fragrant making them a great addition to a border or flower garden. You can also grow them in pots inside or out for easy access. Formal herb gardens are designed with small beds of herbs, planted in a decorative pattern with paths throughout allowing easy access to each bed for maintenance.

Catmint (nepata) photo from

Most of my gardening experience is with herbs and I always seem to get more involved with these plants than any other. There’s something mystical and absorbing about tending and nurturing herbs. Maybe it’s because of their reputation of having magical qualities in myths and folklore. I’ve grown catmint and spearmint in a large tub by my front door and I love the fragrance and delicate flowers I see first thing in the morning. I’ve also grown lime thyme, lemon balm and basil in containers. Lavender is something I would love to be able to grow, but haven’t had much luck at.


If you’d like to try your hand at growing herbs, first decide what you’d like to do with your herbs – cook, made home remedies or add fragrance to your garden. If you like to cook, the Food Network recommends these top five herbs for healthy cooking: parsley, tarragon, chevril, basil and oregano. If you want to try some home remedies, the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine recommends growing these five herbs for minor complaints such as indigestion, muscle soreness and headaches: calendula, motherwort, echinacea, meadowsweet and southern ginseng. If you want some sweet-smelling herbs, Home Depot’s Garden Club recommends these five fragrant herbs that also make great tea: chamomile, mint, lemon balm, bee balm and lavender.

Here are just some of the library resources to help you get started.

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I work in Circulation as a senior library associate. I love mysteries, traveling, gardens and libraries. My favorite authors are Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Peters, Patricia Cornwell and Harlan Coben, but I enjoy any well-plotted mystery.

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