Guide to low-maintenance gardening

From low-water plants to simple projects, our guide to easy gardening will make a green thumb out of anyone

30 easy gardening tips & projects

Discover quick fixes and easy, manageable projects to transform your garden

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Grow unthirsty herbs
Thomas J. Story

Grow unthirsty herbs

An herb garden has many pluses. It is both aromatic and attractive. It is water-wise. And it provides fresh seasonings just steps away from the kitchen. The garden here hosts old favorites like parsley as well as newer introductions, such as conehead thyme (similar in flavor to winter savory) and Italian oregano thyme (a thyme with oregano overtones). All are perennials, with the exception of parsley, which can be planted each fall or early spring, as climate dictates.

  • Italian oregano thyme. Leaves of this 1-foot-high herb have a zesty thyme flavor that enhances tomato-based dishes.
  • English thyme. The spreading plant, up to 1 foot high, has small roundish leaves used to season meats, stews, and tomato-based sauces.
  • Lemon thyme. Leaves have a pleasing lemon fragrance and subtle citrus flavor. The spreading plant grows up to 1 foot high.
  • Garden sage. Shrubby perennial, 1 to 3 feet high, has velvety leaves and bears lavender-blue flowers from late spring into summer. Add to stews.
  • ‘Berggarten’ sage. This compact grower reaching about 16 inches high has soft grayish green leaves and fewer flowers than other culinary sages. Delicious in stuffings and gravies.
  • Conehead thyme. Leaves from the 3-foot-high mounding plant taste like thyme with the heat turned up. The spicy purple blooms are used for garnish.
  • Flat-leafed parsley. Fresh sprigs and minced leaves are classic garnishes. Height ranges from 6 to 12 inches.
  • Greek oregano. Fuzzy gray-green leaves have a spicy flavor. They are at their strongest if harvested when the plant is in bud but before it flowers.

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