4 Uncommon Herbs For Your Culinary Garden

Most every gardener is familiar with the common culinary herbs like basil, thyme, sage and oregano. However, several uncommon herbs can add not only different flavors to your cooking, but also some interesting ornamental plants for your gardens. Here are 4 uncommon herbs to add to your garden:


Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a striking perennial herb to include in the garden. It is a bold and leafy plant, with 4 to 5 foot stems, large rough leaves and small hanging bunches of pink or blue bell flowers. Originally comfrey was grown as a valuable herbal in medicinal gardens, The common names boneset, knitbone and bruise wort indicate its use in poultices for sprains, swellings and bruises. Not often used as an ingredient in cooking, it still has great garden value.

With deep roots that draw minerals, it is rich in potassium, nitrogen and phosphate and so makes a good fertilizer. Simply soak a one part comfrey leaves to three parts water, let sit for a week and strain the rich tea. Use it as you would any liquid fertilizer for your tomatoes, cucumbers, squash or root crops. In fall, as the flowers die down, cut the plant completely back and chop it up. Add it to your compost where they’ll add a rich store of essential minerals.


Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is another tall perennial herb, reaching often to six feet in height. Lovage leaves look a bit like lettuce but has a robust taste, similar to sweet celery. In the kitchen, lovage can sweeten your soup, salad, or turkey stuffing. There is no way you can use all the leaves of this gigantic herb, but it easy to grow and an attractive addition at the back of the herb garden. Used mainly as a soup herb, lovage can also flavor any savory dish with its dark green spicy leaves. Use it sparingly at first, until you are used to its strength and flavor. Use the newest fresh leaves chopped into green or potato salads, or mixed with sour cream onto baked potatoes.

Salad Burnet

Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) is pretty enough to edge a flowerbed, with low rosettes of lacy blue-green foliage. The youngest leaves are a great addition to salads. In Europe, the leaves are used along with chervil, chives, parsley, sorrel and yogurt or cream cheese to make a green sauce that is traditionally used with boiled eggs or potatoes. The burnet leaves have a subtle cucumber flavor, just a bit tart and spicy. Older leaves are not used, as the delicate flavor is lost as they age.

Woodland Angelica

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) was once thought by 17th century herbalists to have the ability to ward off evil spirits, spells and witchcraft. It was also used for digestive ailments, and is still an ingredient in liqueurs. The whole plant has a unique scent and is used in some perfumes. In the kitchen, it makes a nice spring tea or can be used in stewed fruits, since the stalks have a sweet flavor. A decorative herb, you can grow this tall plant just for its big cartwheels of yellow-green flowers. Angelica is a biennial, and will easily seed itself as it ripens in the second year.

Look for more landscaping and gardening tips, e-books, links and great articles from gardening expert, Nicki Goff, on her blog, Through Nana’s Garden Gate. Want to learn all about growing your own herbs – both for health and cooking? Find all her published books here on Amazon.

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