After my post, yesterday, I received several emails asking if I grow or use herbs other that oregano. Melinda from Columbus, Indiana wrote that she has a difficult time keeping some herbs alive, year after year. Chris from Greensburg, IN asked which herbs are perennials that can be grown in a flower garden and still look good. While I admit that I am not an expert on herbs, I do have a few opinions and a little experience which may or may not be useful to you. Thanks for asking!
First, I do grow some herbs. My favorites are rosemary, basil, garlic, oregano, lavender, chives, and sage. I also grow thyme, lemon balm, bee balm, cilantro-coriander, horseradish, stevia, peppermint, and spearmint. I use my herbs in several ways, but mainly in cooking and preserving. Lavender is one which I use for many purposes, including crafting, fragrance, cooking, and just looking beautiful in the garden. I do not eat Bee Balm, but it is extremely beautiful, and I use it to attract hummingbirds.
If you do a little research, you will find that many of the herbs we use are members of the mint family, which is an easy-to-grow set of herbs for our part of the country (the USA Midwest), are flavorful, and have wonderful, spicy aromas. Lamiaceae, or mints, are identified by having somewhat square-shaped stems and leaves which hang opposite of each other. Mints are also, generally, very invasive. The mints in my garden include peppermint and spearmint (obviously), oregano, bee balm, lemon balm, agastache (hummingbird mint), basil, rosemary, lavender, and thyme.
So, Chris: Your question is hard to answer, because I do not know your garden. I can say that most herbs like sunny locations and don’t like to become too dry. Oregano, however, thrives in heat and doesn’t seem to be too affected by dry ground, for the most part. If you like a beautiful mounding plant that isn’t too wild looking, you might like lavender or lemon balm. I will warn you, however, lemon balm is very invasive. My friend, Melissa, gave me three little tiny plants, one year, and within a year, it had taken over half of the flower beds with its beautiful green leaves. I have a few chive plants that I use in my flower garden, because they have an interesting look and if left to flower produce a very pretty display of flowers. In addition, if you cut chives to use, it is only a week or two before it looks beautiful, again.
Melinda: I was thinking about your dilemma, and I wonder if you are of the impression that all herbs are perennials. The one I use the most, each year is basil. I use it for my pasta sauces, Italian seasoning mix, bruschetta, pesto, and so many more things, because it has an amazing flavor. Basil is an annual plant in Indiana which you will have to plant, each year. The good thing is that basil can be grow inside or out. It is extremely easy to grow from seed, as well. Cilantro-coriander, parsley, and a few others are also annuals. Also, most herbs do not like shaded areas or areas which get too much water, so perhaps you can look at the location and type of herb you have been trying to grow.
I opened up comments, so you don’t have to email me, if you have questions, but please feel free to if you would like to! Garden Girl