There’s no denying it, I am a bit of a herb fanatic. They tick so many boxes – they can transform your cooking, save you lots of money over shop-bought herbs and they often look wonderful too!
At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 growers were asked to highlight some of their favourite ornamental herbs that offer attractive foliage and/or flowers. Here are some of their suggestions
Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
This architectural plant, which can exceed 2m in height, is equally at home in the border or the herb garden. Its stems and roots are edible
Australian mint bush (Prosanthera rotundifolia)
In late spring, this tender shrub is smothered in bell-shaped, purple flowers. Its foliage has a very strong menthol smell, and the leaves can be used in oils and infusions.
Creeping pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
This tiny, low-growing mint looks lovely planted in cracks in a pathway, and is said to repel ants and mice. It’s similar to spearmint and has purple-lilac flowers in summer.
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium yezoense var. hidakanum ‘Purple Rain’)
Jacob’s Ladder used to be used for all kinds of medicinal purposes but today, it’s mostly grown as an ornamental. This variety has unusual bronze leaves and bright blue flowers and makes an excellent border plant.
Pygmy borage (Borage pygmaea)
Borage can reach a quite a size in the garden, so if space is at a premium, try this dwarf variety. The star-shaped blue or white flowers have a cucumber taste and can be added to summer drinks and salads. Bees adore it.
Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
This semi-evergreen perennial has small, red, globe-shaped flowers and leaves that have a cucumber flavour – I use it in salads. It does best in sun or partial shade and makes a great border filler.
Pictured from the top: Angelica, Australian mint bush, creeping pennyroyal, pygmy borage and salad burnet.