/ Illustrated by Alicia Waller of Printed Water
Flowering herbs may be the missing piece to achieve raised beds that are lush and tapestried. They add in-between dimension and, when allowed to go to flower, attract pollinators galore.
Unlike planned landscapes that often stay within a flower and leaf color palette, an edible garden can pop with varied, unexpected color. Our picks range the spectrum with red, orange, purple and white brashly represented. Given the correct conditions, flowering herbs are easy to grow and mature rapidly because of their densely phytonutrient nature.
The first two, chamomile and bee balm, make stellar tea, sipped hot or poured over ice. And chive and nasturtium, both the blossoms and stemmed leaves, are a sure-fire way to elevate the typical summer salad to a restaurant-quality plate. Don’t forget about garden-inspired cocktails; these herbs are glass-worthy, from adding chive to a Bloody Mary at brunchtime to a dose of chamomile simple syrup in sangria for happy hour.
Greek for “earth apple,” chamomile is part of the daisy family. Steep the fresh yellow and white blooms for two minutes and enjoy an apple-scented sip. Plant in part-shade for more abundant flower production.
Named for a Spanish botanist, bee balm is part of the mint family. One of the best magnets for birds and bees, deadhead spent flowers to encourage blooms. Plant in a moist spot or water frequently.
Roman for “dagger,” chive is part of the allium family along with its cousins, onion and garlic. Plant bulbs closely to sprout in bunches, especially around veggies prone to aphids to repel the little buggers.
Latin for “nose twisted,” nasturtium is part of the cabbage family. Its peppery leaves are high in lutein and every part, including its delicate flowers, are edible. Plant in hot sun where it can creep and drape.