These plants multitask! Grow and enjoy them in the kitchen, as ornamentals and to feed diverse pollinators.
We offer top quality herb seeds, but not all varieties grow readily from seed. Our solution is to offer different trios of custom-grown potted starter plants for the most often requested varieties, ready to pop into your garden. Each set of 3 varieties comes to you as well started seedlings in ample 3 1/2 inch pots, ready to go right into your garden or grow in containers. Every order has complete planting and growing instructions.
In addition to their culinary qualities, pineapple sage, lemon verbena, lemon thyme and lavender are all terrific pollinator plants, strongly attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. They are tender perennials that winter comfortably outside in mild climates; in cold winter areas, they can be easily clipped back, and potted up indoors as aromatic houseplants. French tarragon and lemon thyme are reliably perennial in US climates.
Plant orders ship directly from our grower, separately from your seed order. Sorry, we cannot ship live plants to Hawaii, Puerto Rico or Canada.
Culinary & Pollinator Plant Trio I
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla)
Tender Perennial (Hardy to zone 5)
The narrow, 3 inch leaves of Lemon Verbena grow on strong branches in lance-like whorls tipped with tiny, delicate pale lavender flowers that attract a wide range of pollinators. One of the best scented flavoring herbs you can grow! Just brush the leaves to release a heavenly lemon perfume that wafts through the garden for pure pleasure. Air-dried leaves keep their enticing fragrance almost indefinitely and make the elixir of lemon herbal teas, or drop a few leaves in sugar to flavor it for baking or use in fresh fruit salads (especially lovely with honeydew!) Or make your own potpourri.
In mild climates, Lemon Verbena plants go winter dormant. In cold winter areas, plants can be potted up to overwinter inside. Depending on climate, plants grow 3-5 feet tall; in small gardens, ornamental lemon verbena grows nicely in a large container.
French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Traditionally tarragon is one of the foundation herbs of French cuisine. It’s a joy to have it in ample amounts fresh from the garden. We offer real culinary tarragon (not tasteless seed grown Russian tarragon, a substitute too frequently sold in its place). Tarragon needs to be grown and enjoyed fresh as it loses its flavor when dry.
The narrow, shiny leaves have a unique peppery-anise taste that is both rich and full flavored. Chicken, fish and eggs are all enhanced with the flavor of tarragon. It’s wonderful with sautéed mushrooms, in potato dishes and salads and is also essential in Bernaise or other creamy sauces. Make your own lively tarragon vinegar by storing fresh branches in a good white wine vinegar. These branching plants thrive in well-drained soil in a sunny spot and reach about 18 inch inches at maturity.
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)
Tender Perennial (Hardy to zone 7)
Our selection of this delightful fruit-scented sage starts blooming strongly in midsummer, finishing in full glory throughout late summer and fall with dazzling crimson-red tubular flowers clusters and pretty heart-shaped leaves. The sweet blossoms have a distinctly Hawaiian pineapple aroma and flavor. Both the leaves and blossoms make a wonderful iced or hot tea and the intensely red flowers are great edible accents for cocktails; use them to make sorbet or add color and flavor to fruit salads or cream cheese spreads, or for making delicate jelly. Hummingbirds simply adore pineapple sage blossoms, and will happily crowd around them!
Pineapple Sage grows as an open branched shrub that prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Depending on climate, plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall. In mild climates, plants go winter dormant. In cold winter areas, pot plants up to overwinter inside.
Culinary & Pollinator Plant Trio II
Tuscan Blue Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Tender Perennial (Hardy to zone 7b)
The pungent aromatic fragrance of rosemary’s needle-like leaves is a favorite perfume of chefs and home cooks everywhere. It’s strong but the subtle piney-mint taste is unbeatable with chicken, pork, lamb, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, and cheeses. Add fresh sprigs to vinegar or olive oil for dressings, or use as skewers on the barbecue. We love to stuff a chicken before roasting with handfuls of fresh rosemary – when you grow your own plants, you can afford to be lavish! Our ornamental and versatile Tuscan Blue is the best variety for culinary with a distinctly warm and richly aromatic flavor. Plants have thick, straight branches with wider leaves and striking dark blue flowers that pollinating bees simply adore.
In mild climates, where the ground doesn’t freeze, these upright branching plants grow 3-4 feet tall. In colder winter areas, grow in a big pot and bring indoors before the ground freezes hard.
Lemon Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus)
Perennial (Hardy to zone 4)
Lemon Thyme’s leaves have an intense bouquet of citrus and spice that give a delicate lemony lift to sautéed, steamed or roasted vegetables. This fine aromatic adds a perfect finish to just about any everyday chicken or fish dish that you can think of and lifts the flavor of soups, stews and casseroles. Use leaves for a delicious herb butter or as a pleasing surprise in cookies, tea cakes or sweet breads. You can use the little leaves lavishly and also easily air dry them for winter use. Crush a sprig anytime you pass by the little branches of glossy dark green leaves and enjoy its clean citrusy scent. Honeybees and many other pollinators go crazy for plants’ abundant petite lavender blossoms.
Reliable and carefree, lemon thyme has an upright mounding habit, reaching 6-8 inches tall and 8-9 inches across. Plants make a fine low growing border or edging and also thrive happily in containers.
Hybrid Lavender “Grosso” (Lavendula x intermedia: a hybrid of L. angustifolia and L. latifolia)
Tender Perennial (Hardy to zone 5)
This is the most widely grown hybrid lavender in Provence, whose essential oil is used in making the best naturally derived French perfumes. Named for its French breeder M. Pierre Grosso. Seed is nearly always sterile, so plants must be painstakingly increased from cuttings.
At maturity, plants form 3-foot mounds covered with enticingly fragrant flowers. Their densely packed, deep violet, fat blossom spikes are fully 4 to 6 inches long and are more colorful, bigger and sweetly scented than any other lavender cultivar we’ve found. Long, straight stems make this variety easy to harvest and perfect to use for fresh or dried bouquets, lavender wands or sachets (see our videos). In the kitchen, Grosso is perfect for baking (see our shortbread recipe), making lavender syrup or jelly or to toss on the smoker when barbecuing lamb, or pork. A personal favorite!