“Herbs! Creative Herb Garden Themes and Projects” (Cool Springs Press, $19.95) is a useful and knowledgeable book for herb beginners as well as more experienced growers. Readers can learn all about almost 50 different herbs, including how to choose them, where and when to plant them, how to grow them successfully, and when and how to harvest and preserve them.
The major portion is devoted to creative ideas for growing herbs in theme gardens – 44 in all, ranging from planting herbs mentioned by Shakespeare or in the Bible to attracting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds with colorful herbs. Directions are given for a number of herb theme gardens that will appeal to foodies – a grilling garden, a pickling garden, a pizza garden, an herbal teas garden, a culinary garden, and herb gardens for Thai, Italian, French, Indian, and Asian cuisines.
These include ideas for cooking with herbs, including numerous recipes (everything from herb jelly to pizza).
“Herbs!” presents many ideas for using the herbs that gardeners have grown – potpourri, herb vinegars, wreaths, herbal bath products, and directions for a “green” herbal-themed wedding that replaces traditional rice with a sweet-smelling herb toss.
Judy Lowe was the garden editor of The Chattanooga Free Press in Tennessee for more than 20 years. She was also an editor for The Christian Science Monitor in Boston for 11 years. While at the Monitor, she founded and blogged for the paper's Gardening site, Diggin' It (http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Gardening/diggin-it). She continues to edit daily articles from more than 15 garden writers who contribute to the site and still writes for it occasionally. She's also in the process of starting a new blog of her own about herb theme gardens, http://herbthemegardens.com .
“Herbs! Creative Herb Garden Themes and Projects” is Lowe's 11th book.