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Herbs: The Complete Gardener's Guide
Herbs: The Complete Gardener's Guide Herbs: The Complete Gardener's Guide

* Book Type:

Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: by Patrick Lima ; photography and illustrations by Turid Forsyth
Audience: Trade
Specs: full color photographs and illustrations throughout, index, sources
Pages: 224
Trim Size: 9" x 11" x 1"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20120425
Copyright Year: 2012
Price: Select Below


Please Note: Only online orders placed from within Canada or the USA are accepted using the Add to Cart button

Herbs: The Complete Gardener's Guide

An illustrated gardening book on how to grow herbs and use them in cooking and teas. The volume is both comprehensive and beautiful.

When first published, Herbs was extremely well received and set a new standard of excellence for gardening books. Turid Forsyth's photographs and watercolor illustrations capture all the beauty and detail of these fascinating and practical plants, and Patrick Lima's highly entertaining text is chock-full of clear information, helpful advice and wry anecdotes.

The book covers:

  • Selecting and growing herbs
  • Soil
  • Perennial kitchen herbs, such as horseradish, oregano, bay leaf and rosemary
  • Annual and biennial kitchen herbs, such as basil, chili peppers and parsley
  • Varieties of thyme
  • Varieties of sage
  • Seeds and sprouts, including anise, caraway, coriander and cumin
  • Alliums, including chives, leeks, onions, garlic and shallots
  • Leafy herbs, such as arugula and watercress
  • Herbs for blending and brewing, such as mint, chamomile and bergamot
  • Fragrant herbs, such as old roses and lavender
  • Gathering wild herbs

Special sections outline how to use herbs to add color to flowerbeds and how to propagate, preserve and grow herbs indoors. The book concludes with 16 delicious recipes that make the most of fresh herbs.

This beautiful book combines the wisdom of two longtime gardeners, creating a comprehensive reference that any gardener will enjoy and use regularly.


Patrick Lima shares his gardening secrets and strategies he has gleaned from carving out a garden in Ontario's Bruce Peninsula. He is the author of The Art of Perennial Gardening and The Harrowsmith Perennial Garden.


Excerpt from Chapter 1; Sample Entry from Chapter 4

Excerpted from Chapter 1
Starting Out: Herbs in the landscape


In a garden, as in nature as a whole, diversity is a hallmark of health and balance. Anything that reduces diversity -- growing a strictly limited number of plants, for instance, or using chemicals that deplete soil organisms or spraying to wipe out insect friends and foes alike -- invites trouble down the road. In contrast, planting a variety of herbs about a garden promotes diversity in both subtle and obvious ways. Beneficial parasitic wasps are drawn to the flowers of lovage, sweet cicely, dill and other umbelliferous plants. Hummingbirds arrive to sip nectar from crowns of tubular bergamot flowers, while swallowtail, admiral and monarch butterflies flit among purple coneflowers or land on the great cartwheel blooms of angelica. Essential for pollination, bumblebees and honeybees seek out nectar from herbs such as lemon balm, lavender, mints and hyssop and busily gather pollen from opium poppies. Where conditions are right, frogs, toads, bats and ladybugs will inhabit a garden and eat their share, of aphids and mosquitoes. Having admired frogs sitting placidly on their water-lily pads, you may be discomfited on occasion to come upon a garter snake -- or, in these parts, a massasauga rattlesnake -- with its mouth full of web-toed amphibian, but it's all of a piece. In late summer, twittering goldfinches fly in to feast on sunflower and mullein seeds.

I can't imagine our garden without its herbs, plants that enchant us somehow and elicit contact and response. When I think of herbs, I think of essence, intensity and strength: pervasive aroma; flavors pungent or sweet but always distinct; essential oils concentrated to a degree that gives a plant character. Working with herbs brings us in touch with intertwining traditions of gardening, cookery, brewing, folk medicine and home-based crafts. So many simple pleasures are associated with herbs: picking fresh leaves for the kitchen; making a pot of fragrant tea; traveling down memory lane on a whiff of costmary or rue; tousling the lavender as you stroll by and breathing in its calming scent.

Herbs encompass a huge variety, and our aim is to be as inclusive as possible. Something that shows up as a herb here may well be another gardener's weed, vegetable or flower. In the chapters that follow, herbs are grouped according to common characteristics and uses: annual and perennial culinary herbs; tea herbs; the various thymes, sages and alliums; herbs grown primarily for fragrance; and old-time medicinals that remain excellent ornamentals for sun and shade. Look around the piece of earth you tend. There are places in every landscape where herbs of one kind or another will thrive, adding their varied appeal of scent and savor, utility and tradition -- creating a garden full of interest and beauty by any definition.


Excerpted from Chapter 4.
Summer Seasonings: Annual and biennial kitchen herbs

Anthriscus cerefolium

Chervil is so delicate, it never appears in markets. To have chervil in the kitchen, you must grow it in the garden. But once established, this pretty annual sows its hardy seeds and reappears gratis every season. Chervil does not transplant. To start a patch, scratch the long black seeds shallowly into decent loam in sun or light shade. Keep the ground moist until the seeds sprout, thin the seedlings to 6 inches apart, and harvest the outside leaves, always leaving the central crown to continue growing. Lacy umbels of pinkish white flowers -- "like exquisite bits of enamel work," says one observant writer -- are followed in midsummer by seeds. Allowing chervil to seed down saves you the work, but be prepared for new plants to pop up in odd places. When chervil is left to its own schedule, its seeds sprout in early fall, forming a small rosette that winters over and begins to grow first thing in spring.

"The leaves put into a sallet give a marvellous relish to the rest," wrote John Parkinson in his 1629 "speaking garden," Paradisi in Sole.

Later, in the 1699 Acetaria, John Evelyn added his assent: "The tender tips of chervil should never be wanting in our sallets, being exceedingly wholesome and cheering of the spirits." Indeed, the herb's name comes from the Latin chaerephyllum, "a joy-giving leaf"; chervil equals cheerful.

A close cousin to the robustly perennial sweet cicely, chervil holds a milder anise flavor in its soft curly leaves. Given its early growth, chervil is a natural with chives and dill to season spring dishes; try the three in cottage cheese or dips. Chervil butter flavors asparagus, and later on, minced chervil and chives go into lettuce salads and warm potato salad. I often use up to one-third chervil with parsley for tabbouleh. The French fines herbes always include chervil and chives with two others chosen from thyme, savory, basil or tarragon; in any combination, they make a splendid green-flecked omelette. Chervil is best fresh and may be added at the last minute to cream soups such as carrot, asparagus or puree of green pea. In fact, this is all the cooking that chervil's subtle flavor will withstand.



  1. Starting Out: Herbs in the landscape
    • A Lively Definition
    • Herbs in the Garden
    • Diversity

  2. Family Ties: Getting to know herbs
    • Living Latin
    • More to Know

  3. The Garden Pantry: Perennial kitchen herbs
    • Horseradish
    • Lovage
    • Oregano
    • Salad Burnet
    • Sorrel
    • Tarragon
    • Winter Savory
    • Bay Leaf
    • Ginger
    • Rosemary

  4. Summer Seasonings: Annual and biennial kitchen herbs
    • Basil
    • Chervil
    • Chili Peppers
      • Drying Peppers
      • A Pepper Frame
    • Coriander
    • Dill
    • Fennel
    • Leaf Celery
    • Marjoram
    • Parsley
    • Perilla
    • Summer Savory

  5. On Thyme: This herb, too, is of the essence
    • Lemon Thyme
    • Caraway Thyme
    • Creeping Thymes
    • Thymus Miscellaneous

  6. Sage Advice: Salvias useful and decorative
    • Cooking Sage
    • Clary Sage
    • Hardy Salvias
    • Azure Sage
    • Red-Top, or Painted, Sage
    • Tender Tropical Sages

  7. Going to Seed: Seeds for flavoring and sprouts
    • Anise
    • Black Cumin
    • Caraway
    • Coriander
    • Cumin
    • Opium Poppy
    • Sprouted Seeds

  8. All About Alliums: Onions for flavor and color
    • Chives
    • Garlic Chives
    • Welsh Onion
    • Wild Leeks
    • Egyptian Onion
    • Garlic
    • Elephant Garlic
    • Shallots
    • Ornamental Onions

  9. Salad Days: Leafy herbs
    • Mustard Greens and Mizuna
    • Arugula, or Roquette
    • Cress
    • Purslane
    • Watercress

  10. Tea Leaves: Herbs to blend and brew
    • Mints
    • Catnip
    • Chamomile
    • Bergamot
    • Anise-Hyssop
    • Costmary
    • Horehound
    • Roses
    • Lemon Balm
    • Lemon Bergamot
    • Lemon Grass
    • Lemon Verbena
      • Drying, Storing And Brewing

  11. Garden Silverware: Plants with gray foliage
    • Artemisias
    • Catmints
    • Lamb's Ears
    • Milk Thistle
    • Mullein
    • Rue
    • Russian Sage
    • Santolina
    • Yarrow

  12. In Living Color: Beyond the green herbal horizon
    • Foxglove
    • Valerian
    • Monkshood
    • Hyssop
    • Hollyhock
    • Musk Mallow
    • Saffron Crocus
    • Borage
    • Anchusa
    • Purple Coneflower
    • Golden Marguerite
    • Feverfew
    • Nasturtium
    • Calendula

  13. Shades of Green: Choice selections for dark corners
    • Sweet Woodruff
    • Lady's Bedstraw
    • Bugleweed
    • Dead Nettle
    • Sweet Cicely
    • Angelica
    • Goutweed
    • Lady's Mantle
    • Solomon's Seal
    • Comfrey
    • Violets

  14. Uncommon Scents: Herbs for fragrance
    • Old Roses
    • Lavender
    • Florentine Iris
    • Carnations; Pinks
    • Scented Geraniums
    • Potpourri

  15. From the Wild: Herbs from woods, fields and meadows
      • Tea from the Wild
    • Alfalfa
    • Horsetail
    • Mullein
    • Plantain
    • Raspberry
    • Red Clover
    • St. John's Wort
    • Violet
    • Wild Strawberry
    • Yarrow
      • Beyond Tea
    • Chicory
    • Dandelion
    • Stinging Nettle

  16. Herbal Know-How: Propagation, preservation and growing herbs indoors
    • Herbs from Seed
    • Dividing Plants
      • Multiplication by Root Division
    • Cuttings
    • Layering
    • Bring Them
    • Preserving Herbs for Winter
      • Freezing
      • Drying

  17. In the Kitchen: Cooking with fresh Herbs
    • Tabbouleh
    • Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Herb Dressing
    • Fish Fillets with Herb and Tomato Topping
    • Herbed Potato Salad
    • Grilled Marinated Chicken
    • Bean Dip With Garlic, Cumin and Cilantro
    • Carrot Puree
    • Herb-Dressed Roasted Peppers and Bocconcini
    • Penne With Herb-Roasted Summer Vegetables
    • Herb-Roasted Potates
    • Rosemary Garlic Lamb Chops
    • Tzatziki
    • Spicy Tofu
    • Sweet Corn, Bean and Tomato Stew With Herbs
    • Iced Herbal Lemonade
    • Margot's Tea


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