Growing my own herbs has been very rewarding and without a doubt, enhanced my culinary repertoire. I also realized while learning from books is great, actually growing and using the herbs was more informative, and tutorial like and I would recommend doing both.
To me, it is very satisfying to step out into my backyard to see how the plants are progressing. It is also very convenient to be able to gather herbs and try them out in new recipes or to grab a quick cup of tea. I love to use the various herbs infused in water, teas, pairing them with meat, and baking with them. Every year I try to find new recipes to incorporate the herbs, some successful others not so much.
The most surprising has been the “pests” that have come to visit the different herbs. Until I started photography, I never really paid attention to what bugs made herbs part of their habitat. Bees love blue basil, dill, and marjoram flowers, butterflies love fennel, parsley, and dill, and you will find the occasional spider hanging out. This discovery has led to researching the various native pollinators that visit the garden and adding in some extra plants just for them.
Over the years, my husband and I took random pictures of our garden, and in the last three years, I have been practicing my photography skills on the various herbs and bugs that visit. As an unintentional result of my photography, I have created a photo diary of sorts. It was really neat to look back over the last several years of photos to see the progression of my photography skills.
If you are not sure where to start, I suggest starting simple, with one or two pots and build as you go. I started with a few that I was more familiar with, such as basil, parsley, chives, and rosemary. Now I have about 20 different ones. I try to add one or two new herbs each year and I am excited to learn more about tropical herbs, as they are becoming more accessible.
I am looking forward to this year’s season. My new herbs this year are Vietnamese cilantro, savory, and vanilla.