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Herbs: Great choices for mind, body and kitchen

Virtually everyone is familiar with parsley, basil and the like. Generally speaking though, an herb can be defined as any plant you can use medicinally, aromatically or culinarily, and encompasses an almost endless array of varieties. Host Michael Weishan paid a recent visit to Gilson's Herb Lyceum in Groton, Mass., where he picked up some Best Bets you may not have yet in your herb garden.



'Coconut Ice'

This hardy aromatic herb will grow well in Zone 5 and up, and has beautiful flowers that bloom in a mixture of pink and white.


Marrubium vulgare


A good example of a traditional medicinal herb, horehound has been used as a cough syrup ingredient. As the leaves grow larger they become crinkly, adding a nice visual touch to the garden.

Mexican mint marigold

Tagetes lucida

Mexican mint marigold

Mexican mint marigold tastes like French tarragon but can be grown in a pot through the winter and won't go dormant as tarragon does.


Ruta graveolens


Traditionally given as a good-luck gift to the parents of a newborn, rue is a beautiful example of the rich folklore and tradition that have surrounded herbs for centuries.


Thymus vulgaris


One of our favorite types of herb, thyme is another very aromatic herb. In addition to all its delicious kitchen uses, most thyme varieties are low-growing and can also be used as a mat-like ground cover and are great for rock gardens. Foot steps compress the foliage, releasing the oils from the leaf bottoms and creating a wonderful scent in the garden.

Thymus serpyllum

'Pink Chintz'
pink chintz thyme

'Pink Chintz' has a bright pink blossom and grows very low to the ground — another great choice for a rock garden.

Thymus citriodorus

'Archer's Gold'
archer's gold thyme

'Archer's Gold' is another low-growing thyme with a refreshing lemony scent. Its foliage has a golden hue in spring, changing to green later in the season.


'Spicy Orange'
spicy orange thyme

A great culinary variety, spicy orange thyme is true to its name, combining hints of allspice and a flavor of orange.

For more information on resources used on the show, visit our Resource Directory

This segment appears in show #2708.

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Published August 31, 2007