6 of the best fragrant herbs for your garden

Woman hands collecting herbs in home garden

Growing fragrant herbs can be beneficial for your garden and kitchen - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There’s something beautiful about stepping out into your garden and breathing in the scents of herbs. The many different fragrances can create a multi-sensory playground, where they can be harvested for cooking or simply enjoyed for their flowers, structure and scent, making your garden the perfect space to unwind. At the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park you will find an abundance of fragrant flowers and herbs for you to peruse. For his Breathe Easy garden at this summer’s Tatton event, garden designer Peter Lloyd has used herbs to show visitors how they can help mindfulness while growing their own food at the same time. Continuing our series offering advice on a range of gardening topics, Peter offers his selection of favourite fragrant herbs for your garden.

1. Hyssopus officinalis (Hyssop)

Hyssopus officinalis (hyssop) is one of the showstoppers in my herb border at the RHS Tatton Park Breathe Easy garden. It will add some height and the small, pointed leaves and attractive violet-blue flowers are intended to be aesthetically soothing. In addition, hyssop can add flavour to soups, salads and lamb.

Purple flowers of Hyssopus officinalis Hyssop herb plant in summer garden.

Hyssopus officinalis is both attractive and can add flavour to soups, salads and lamb. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’

I was introduced to pelargoniums by my dad. It was the first plant he gave to me when I moved away to university and I didn’t manage to kill it. I have found them extremely easy to propagate and enjoy doing so now to keep my dad’s memory alive. The large, textured leaves and exceptional fragrance from the foliage makes them a great edging plant to borders.

3. Tulbaghia ‘Fairy Star’ or Society Garlic

I have started using Tulbaghia ‘Fairy Star’ as seasoning in salads and it is really tasty and also great in a martini. The fine, grass-like leaves and pale pink trumpet-shaped flowers look magnificent when the wind catches it. The smell is divine and the bees really appreciate this one. Tulbaghia ‘Fairy Star’ also has a lengthy flowering period from spring until autumn, which makes it a winner in any herb border.

Tulbaghia violacea (Society garlic) flowers / Liliaceae perennial bulbous plant

Tulbaghia ‘Fairy Star’ is perfect for seasoning in salads - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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4. Santolina rosmarinifolia (Cotton Lavender)

Santolina rosmarinifolia is a neat, rounded evergreen shrub with finely divided, fragrant foliage and small yellow pompon flowers, which will add a splash of subtle colour. Away from the garden, it can be used to help with digestive problems, to repel insects, swelling of the skin and muscle spasms.

5. Chamaemelum nobile (Chamomile)

Chamaemelum nobile, whether this is harvesting or undertaking plant care, contact with chamomile will release a strong aromatic fragrance. The daisy-like flowerheads with white rays and yellow disc florets will offer a herb bed colour contrast and be picked up by the cotton lavender.

6. Salvia rosmarinus (Rosemary)

Rosemary is one of my most used herbs in the kitchen. It’s my go-to for seasoning potatoes, soups, stews, even fish and chicken. It’s a reliable, repeat flowering shrub. The pale violet-blue flowers will tie in with the hyssop, lavender and chives.

Woman gathers fresh rosemary herb in the garden

Rosemary not only smells lovely but pairs deliciously with many dishes - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

You can see Peter Lloyd’s Breathe Easy garden at the 2021 RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, which returns to Cheshire from July 21 to 25 for a floral extravaganza packed with more inspiration and advice for those looking to garden and grow plants this summer. Tickets are available online now