Although we've lived out in the country for nearly ten years now, I spent most of my adult life living in suburban subdivisions. Even then, I dreamed of growing some of my own food ingredients, and I planted herbs, cherry tomatoes, and peppers in beds next to my house and in pots on my patio. Even in neighborhoods where strict ordinances are enforced, many owners can grow fragrant, attractive herbs in beds around the perimeter of their houses and pools. Right now we have quite a variety of herbs planted amidst flowers and vines on the sides of our house and in raised planters next to our pool. I encourage everyone to give this a try, even if it's just for making some iced tea in the summer. The orange mint in the above photo grows on a shady side of our house and smells so good when you just brush up against it.
We started growing chamomile next to our swimming pool last summer. When the flowers arrive later in the season, they bring out the wonderful smell. I plan on using this to make tea.
Chives are a terrific addition to any raised bed. You can see these are about to bloom, and they will have the cutest round purple flowers. I use chives in all kinds of dishes and salads.
If you've ever grown mint, you know that it likes to spread and take over, so you have to watch certain varieties. This chocolate mint sprawls next to our house, but it tastes so good even on its own. It also makes the greatest warm tea.
My lavender doesn't get very big, so I'm not sure we're the best zone for it or if I need to move it to another location. I really want it to thrive because it's terrific for headaches, which I tend to get a lot of when the pollen counts are high.
Somehow this lemon mint popped up on the side of our house the other summer, and it has been gradually taking over that flower bed ever since. This herb smells so summery and also makes a good tea.
What would any summer herb garden be without some oregano? I use so much of this in my cooking, and especially in the big batches of salsa we make in the summer once the tomatoes are ripe.
Along with these herbs, we have also successfully grown parsley (until the rabbits ate it,) apple mint, peppermint, rosemary (until our black cat kept napping on it,) basil, and sage. Many of these have medicinal qualities as well as being fantastic culinary herbs. Some are natural insect repellents as well. Go outside and see what little unused parts of your flower beds are available, and go to your local nursery and pick up a few herbs to plant. By the end of the summer, I think you'll be hooked.