Most of the herbs I grow on my deck are for cooking or eating. There is always a good supply of basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary and chives. It’s wonderful to step out of the kitchen and pick a handful of herbs to add to a dish. I also have a bay tree. I’m a big fan of bay leaves, I can’t boil a potato without a bay leaf. Most of my herbs die over the winter, but if I’m lucky the chives and thyme return in the spring. My rosemary and bay trees get special attention, they spend the winter indoors, in my stairwell where it is bright and cool. Oh, to live in a climate where they could stay outside all year.
Another herb I nurse through the winter is lemon verbena. Its leaves have a potent aroma and almost overpowering lemon flavour so only a small amount is needed. As the leaves are rather tough, I use a sprig when flavouring a custard, or syrup then I can remove all the leaves before serving. Lemon verbena’s power also makes it perfect to balance the intensity of quinces. However, my favourite way to enjoy this herb is as tea, or tisane in French.
A pot of it sits right now on my window ledge as I write this post.