Growing your own herbs in an Italian herb garden provides a huge amount of possibilities. Some of the most famous and tastiest herbs in the world come from Italy. Some of the best cuisines come from Italy and are famous for their herbs.
Basil is a well know Italian herb and useful in many Italian recipes. Basil will not only add flavour to many Italian cuisines, it is useful in the garden to other plants. Planting basil next to your peppers and tomatoes will actually improve their flavour. Plus, basil will also repel flies and mosquitoes.
Parsley is a relatively hard herb plant to grow but it is useful in not only Italian dishes but many other types of cuisines. Many generations ago before there was breath mints it was found that eating fresh, raw parsley after a meal eradicated the bad breath left over from enjoying a flavourful cuisine. The tradition arose to serve parsley on a small dish after the meal. The tradition lives today by using parsley as a garnish on a variety of meals. Oregano is as decorative as it is flavourful. When it is fully mature it will sprout pretty little purple flowers. Oregano should not be harvested until it has flowered because this is when the plant is most flavourful.
Fennel is most widely known as a seed used to impart that distinctive flavour to Italian sausages and sauces. As the perennial plant matures the flavour becomes less pronounced so in your herb garden you will want to regularly divide the root stock and replant the fennel bulbs. That will help maintain the unique Italian flavour.
Like basil, rosemary is an Italian herb that is beneficial to the garden. It grows into a large shrub that spouts pretty little blue flowers. It helps the garden by attracting bees. Although it is a tough evergreen perennial, it is sensitive to frost.
Garlic is by far the most frequently used herb in Italian cuisines. An Italian herb garden needs to have at least a small plot of garlic. Garlic cloves can be planted in almost any type of soil, and still do well. It makes herb gardening an easy task. Harvest and store garlic cloves for use all winter.
Sage, is a very old and traditional herb that is found in meats, and salads and side dishes. Sage tea is soothing to the stomach. New growth from the plant has the best taste, and will add the most to your dishes. Keep the woody growth cut back so that you will continue to have those tender shoots. Harvest sage after it blooms. Use it throughout the growing season, without trimming back the entire plant.
As an enthusiastic herb gardener you might be tempted to include every Italian herb you have ever heard of in your Italian herb garden, but stop a moment and think. What are the flavours of the herbs you like? Which of them will grow in the conditions in your garden? Which Italian herbs appeal to you and will look good in your landscape? Their colours are beautiful and the aroma is fantastic. Placing Italian garden herbs throughout your landscape will lend a fragrance that is truly a sensory delight.