Monday, 3 March 2014


A few years ago my husband and I had a joint venture supplying windowsill herb gardens to a local specialty store. That was fun – he built the planters and I took care of the herbs. Unfortunately for us, the store didn't survive, putting an end to our little enterprise.

The part that made our planters popular, and which set them apart, was that we had arranged them to specific tastes, such as our Poultry Lover’s Herb Garden which contained Chives, Parsley, Sage, and Thyme. Similar planters were available for beef, pork, seafood, Italian, Bouquet Garni and Fines Herbs, using only those plants that grew well inside.

I decided to take that idea outside to promote growing specific-use herbs with flowers in window boxes and patio planters. This would have a dual benefit - first, it would provide a constant supply of no-cost, fresh herbs for culinary use; and second, this would benefit nearby plants since herbs are known to help many other plants grow stronger.
Combination herb gardens include:
*     Poultry Lover’s Herb Garden – Chives, Parsley, Sage, and Thyme
*     The Lamb Lover’s Herb Garden – Chives, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary,                   Savory, Thyme
*     The Beef Lover’s Herb Garden – Chives, Parsley, Rosemary,                             Savory, Orange Thyme
*     The Pork Lover’s Herb Garden – Chives, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary,             Sage, Thyme
*     The Seafood Lover’s Herb Garden – Lemon Basil, Dill, Parsley, Lemon             Savory, Tarragon
*     The Italian Herb Garden – Basil, Italian Parsley, Oregano, Thyme
*      Bouquet Garni Garden – Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme
*      Fines Herbes Garden – Chervil, Chives, Parsley, Thyme

Richter's 'Globette Basil'
1. This pretty basil is only 4-6 inches high and an excellent plant for south-facing window boxes, or to add to patio planters to keep mosquitoes away. There are many basil varieties with the purple-leaved and variegated types providing great contrast. Much loved by butterflies, it also helps other plants grow stronger.
2. Chervil (no picture available) is another attractive plant with leaves somewhat like parsley. It grows 12-24 inches high and in mid-summer will produce white flower clusters on taller stalks. Its a great companion plant as it repels aphids and increases growth of nearby plants. Its a tender, shade-loving annual.
Richter's 'Garlic Chives'

3. Chives, a hardy perennial, is a rose's best friend, protecting the plant against aphids and Japanese beetles. Chives have attractive 'lollypop' purple flowers; garlic chives have white starry-shaped ones. It attract bees, repels other pests. grows best in full sun/part shade and moist soil.
4. Dill, a hardy annual, likes a sunny spot to grow in. It attracts butterflies and repels aphids and spider mites. The 'Monia Dill' shown is ideally suited for pots and window boxes. It has attractive, fern-type foliage and large yellow flower clusters in summer.

5. The candied fruit mint shown is only one of many attractive varieties of mint. All mint plants spread like crazy and its best to plant them in high-rimmed planters placed in the window-box. Parsley really dislikes mint, but other plants love it as it repels ants and aphids. The pink or purple flowers attract bees and butterflies.

Richter's ''Red Oregano'
6. Oregano or Marjoram, an attractive perennial in zone 5-9, likes a sunny location. The trailing types are perfect plants for the window box. Leaves vary from golden to dark purple to silver - flowers range from white to red, as shown.  As this plant repels all kinds of pests it makes a great companion to other plants.
Richter's 'Parsley'
Richter's 'Thyme'
Richter's 'Golden Sage 
7. Parsley is a well-known plant that                                    works well with most flowers. It
Richter's 'Rosemary'
 repels harmful  insects and attracts butterflies. Its a biennial that grows in sun or part  shade.
 8Rosemary, a tender perennial that won't tolerate any frost, loves the sun. There are  pretty trailing types that are perfect for the window-box. Flowers are  mostly shades of blue but some varieties have pink flowers.
9. Sage, a well-known kitchen herb, is an attractive, hardy perennial that comes in many varieties, size and colour of flowers. The Golden Sage shown makes a gorgeous contrast plant in the window-box. Besides the known culinary use, the dried stalks - with leaves - make a lovely addition to floral wreaths.
10. Savory (no picture) is a perennial in zone 5-8 and is a delightful creeping plant for the front of the window-box. The white, pink or purple flowers attract bees and butterflies. Summer Savory is an annual while Winter Savory is a perennial and has a much stronger flavour (not always liked).
11. Thyme adds so much to so many different foods that its almost indispensable in the kitchen. Its a hardy, creeping perennial that grows best in full sun. It comes in a variety of flavours and flower colour. It intensifies the fragrance of nearby aromatic plants and attracts butterflies.

There are many more herbs that would enhance window-boxes, but the ones listed are the more familiar ones that most people have used for culinary purposes at one time or another. It just made sense to start with the ones that were easily recognized.

The pictures are courtesy of Richter's. All Richter's herbs are organically grown or wildcrafted. I am a WebAgent for them and do receive a commission on any sales initiating from this site - clicking on the Richter's logo in the sidebar will take you directly to their catalog. I have been a satisfied customer of theirs since the early 1980's which is why I chose them to be the herb supplier on my site.

Talk to you again next week,



  1. Good info on Herb Gardens Lenie. It is fascinating how many plants, when grown in combination, repel the enemies of one another.

    1. Thanks Paul
      I love working with herbs - they're good for so many things that its always interesting to find new uses.


  2. I like the information you've given on combination herb gardens. Interesting gift idea.

    1. Hi Donna
      Thanks for the idea - I never thought about giving them as gifts but I'll certainly start planning a few gifts now.

  3. O One of these days I will stop being lazy and finally start the garden that I said I would 7 years ago. Very good pictures in this post by the way.

    1. Hi -
      Let me warn you that once you start, you won't want to stop, especially working with herbs - it tends to be addictive. Glad you liked the pictures.

  4. I love a good herb garden. I have a few window boxes that are in need of replanting and this such good guide to help me do that. Thank you.

  5. I'm glad that you found this information useful. I love what herbs do to the other plants and also the fragrance they provide. Good luck with your planting.


  6. I love growing herbs. I'm glad to have this guide on what ones do well together. About all I've known about that kind of thing is that tomatoes and basil do well together.

  7. I used to have an actual herb garden, but I love the idea of this window variety. Particularly because I live alone and don't do as much entertaining!

  8. What a great idea. I wonder how a planter with the italian herbs in it would do on my front porch, where I get the most sun? Love herbs, and herb gardens, but don't want Oregano for weeks, since it can be fairly aggressive here.

  9. Hi Lenie

    This is best idea to start with the ones you are familiar..... you know i love to use oregano and parsley in my food but i never thought to grow them..... I will go and find , if its available and try to grow them....

    Thank you for always coming up with a great idea
    Keep Blogging

  10. It's so nice to meet a fellow herb enthusiast! I am changing things up a bit this year and applying companion planting to everything - mixing herbs, flowers & veggies so I can keep everything organic and pure without having to deal with pests and the like. Wish me luck!

  11. Good useful info, Lenie!
    I would pass these informations to my dad who is a passionate gardener!


I want this blog to be interesting, informative and current. Your comments let me know if I'm on track, so comments are greatly appreciated.
Thanks - Lenie