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Herbs in the Landscape

Herb gardens offer rustic charm and literal flavor when planted outside the kitchen, but large-scale landscaping with herbs creates a sensory experience worth exploring. Here are 5 ways you can use herbs in desert landscapes:

Rosemary

This fragrant plant grows as a medium-sized shrub, with both upright and hanging varieties. Left to grow naturally, it produces light blue flowers. It can also be shaped for a neat, manicured landscape, and used as a low hedge.

Lavender

Lavender thrives in our climate. It attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies. Desert varieties are more drought and heat tolerant, but English and French lavender will also perform with the proper care. Lavender needs good drainage, or the roots will rot.

Mint

In more temperate climates, thyme is often used as a fragrant ground cover. In the Phoenix area, mint fulfills this role, and unlike in wetter climates, it’s less inclined to invade beds of other plants. Varieties of mint come in different colors and flavors.

Dill

Dill will grow as a weed in Phoenix lawns, long after it has been removed from the garden plot. This could be a nuisance or an asset, depending on your preferences. Its yellow flowers achieve a meadowy look.

Basil

Basil loves the desert. Normally an annual, it will survive several seasons if you can avoid its low temperature threshold. It thrives in the summer heat while other annual herbs wilt. Cold is its nemesis, so you may wish to protect it or bring it indoors when the temperature dips below 40°. Purple adds variety, or you can go with green.

These herbs are low maintenance once established. Of the set, mint has the greatest water demand, but during the colder months even mint can go several days without watering. The ability to make meals, teas, essential oils, and even cocktails attracts many homeowners to herbs, but herbs in commercial landscapes are just as attractive.

 

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