"The herb wreath has delivered us from many dull meals," says Colbert. It needs regular trimming - use the snippets as garnishes or chop them to put in soups, salads, and herb butters.
Favorites: Chocolate mint, cilantro, dill, English thyme, garlic chives, Italian parsley, oregano, sage, salad burnet, sweet basil, and sweet marjoram.
• Use a 14- or 18-inch-diameter frame.
• Start with young plants (especially basil, which, preferably, should only have its first set of true leaves). If you can't find young ones, start from seed.
• In planting, alternate types of herbs. Position dill (which grows tall) and sage (which likes drier conditions) on the flanks of the wreath.
• Plant mints at the bottom, where they get extra moisture.
• Grow in a sunny spot just outside the kitchen.
• Use fish emulsion, diluted to half-strength, every time you water.
"Set a salad wreath on the table and the guests can harvest their own greens," says Colbert. There are dozens of different lettuces and greens available. Choose at least five colors and textures; alternate them when you plant.
Start varieties from seed and transplant them when they have only two or three sets of leaves, or buy sixpacks of frisée and lettuces at a local nursery with a good selection (buy only young seedlings that aren't rootbound).
Favorites: 'Oak Leaf', 'Lollo Rossa', 'Red Oak Leaf', and 'Red Sails' lettuces; 'Neos' chicory frisée.