The best herbs to grow outdoors

Whether you have a large veggie patch with plenty of space for bedding plants, a bit of room on the patio for some pots, or just a balcony or window box, growing your own fresh herbs is a great idea. They add colour and scent to your outdoor space, as well as flavour to your food, and look wonderful beside Garland or Charles Taylor garden furniture.

You can buy pre-potted herbs from your local garden centre, or if you fancy growing your own from seed, May is the ideal month to start as there should be no more overnight frosts.

The following are some of simplest, hardiest and most versatile outdoor herbs.

Fennel

Fresh fennel has a unique flavour. Very aromatic, it tastes of aniseed, and is thus used in sweet as well as savoury dishes. It is one of the easiest herbs to grow from seed too.

Oregano

A handful of freshly picked oregano leaves scattered over the top of a homemade or shop-bought pizza, or a simple pasta dish such as spaghetti bolognese, brings a whole new dimension of flavour to these classics.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a hardy, woody herb that grows easily and prefers a hot, dry setting if possible. A few stems added to a tray of roast potatoes can completely transform the taste – especially if you throw in a few garlic cloves.

Thyme

Thyme gives a rich, deep flavour to stews and casseroles, and is frequently used in all kinds of European cookery.

Sage

Hardy and woody like thyme and rosemary, sage complements lighter meats like chicken and pork particularly well, and is a common ingredient in stuffing and sausages.