5 Healthy Herbs for the Garden

Discover 5 healthy herbs to grow in your Startle Garden this year.

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There are many herbs to grow and if I were new to these plants it would probably be overwhelming to make selections.

There are 5 healthy herbs I would like to recommend, four being perennials and one an annual, they include:

  • Marjoram
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Basil

Which means problem solved, you know where to begin using this simple list.

It’s easy enough to start looking for perennial plants now because light winter gardeners like me, can transplant the first four suggestions outside when temperatures remain higher than 40 degrees.

For everyone else begin by seed and transplant in the spring.   I love Botanical Interest seeds, they germinate fast and offer a great selection.


It’s my hope that by the end you’ll be encouraged to grow at least three of these options in your garden this year.


Perennial Herb Marjoram

Marjoram is a perennial herb; this means it continues to grow year-round.

For gardeners further north it acts like an annual, needing to be replanted each year or brought inside over the winter as it cannot handle harsh temperatures.

Let me just say, this plant would be amazing indoors.


It tends to appear similar to Oregano but I’m here to tell you it tastes so much better as the flavor is mild, sweet and delicate in comparison. I enjoy it with breakfast eggs, seafood, and salads.


Quick Planting Tips

It prefers full sun with a light well-drained soil mix and I plant where it has protection, as it can get cold here for weeks at a time.

By offering it a backwall this has helped keep it green, allowing me to harvest year-round.

Perennial Herb Sage

I can’t imagine my garden without sage and with so many varieties to choose from you could spend days learning about each one.

I love the color of sage because it breaks up all the darker shades of green in my startle garden.

It’s also one of my favorite cooking herbs especially for breakfast when I’m making scrambled eggs.


Quick Planting Tips

Sage is a perennial, hardy evergreen with a woody stem, growing 1 – 2 ft. tall in the form of a bush.

Does best in full sun to partial shade, in well-drained sandy soil but I’m here to tell you in amended clay it does pretty fantastic.

To learn more about Sage read here.


Perennial Herb Rosemary

Rosemary takes me back to childhood because my grandmother had a huge plant right before you entered her garage.

This space provided a lot of protection for this plant allowing her to keep it living for as long as I can remember.

When we cooked together, she would send me outside to grab a few stems for whatever she was teaching me to make.

She was always cooking with fresh herbs and that’s why her food tasted amazing.   Glad I was paying attention because cooking with fresh herbs is something I’ve been doing for a very long time.

In my new book, Startle Garden Herbs I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes and grandmas too.


Quick Planting Tips

Rosemary is also an evergreen with growth from 2 -6 ft.

Requires well-drained soil, thrives in full sunshine and I’m here to tell you getting a new plant established can be tricky.

To learn more about Rosemary read here and if you’re already growing get my propagating tips here.


Perennial Herb Lemon Thyme

Thyme is an herb that I introduced to myself by accident when we lived in Little Elm, Texas.

We had this huge backyard where I found joy in growing roses.

So, I planted many and one day when browsing through the nursery, inspiration struck and I decided to fill in the gaps with herbs.


There was no plan during that shopping trip and I had no idea what I was doing.  I was good at shopping though so how difficult could it be?

I grabbed several herb plants, thyme being one and the rest is history.


I fell in love with that rose/herb garden, it was a time when my life was very different.

We had this huge, brand new home, I was new to town so no friends, and I was busy raising two vibrant children while Robert continued working in aviation.

This backyard garden was my place to regroup and I loved having access to those fresh herbs because like my grandmother I started cooking with them often.

Our time in Little Elm was neat and when we sold out in 2005 it was bittersweet.


Quick Planting Tips

Thyme is a low growing evergreen reaching 6 and 15 inches, blooming pink and lavender clustered flowers in the mid-summer.  These flowers are absolutely precious.

This herb will grow best in full sun to partial shade, preferring well-drained sandy soil. With that being said, I’ve had an amazing experience with amended clay soil which is awesome.

To learn more about Thyme read here.


Annual Herb Basil

Finally, we have basil and I honestly can’t imagine life without this beauty.  I cook with it all the time and sometimes I’ve been known to go a little overboard.

It grows with a very independent spirit and seeds germinate quick or it’s easy enough to purchase new plants from nurseries.

Basil is an annual so you’ll have to wait for spring before growing outdoors.


Quick Planting Tips

Basil does best in well drained, moist soil with a neutral ph and it thrives in full sun loving warm climates.  Start seeds inside now and transplant after the last spring freeze.

There you have it, my top five favorites herbs and I grow them all in my Startle Garden.

Begin your growing space and check out my new book Startle Garden Herbs here.



I’m excited because I’ve compiled a list of annual and perennial herbs that are perfect to grow in the Startle Garden System.

This book includes detailed plant profiles, how to plant and cook with fresh herbs.   I’ve also included a variety of projects that complement an herb garden small or large.

Gardening in general is a beneficial activity, with these 5 healthy herbs it’s a great place to begin your Startle Garden.


Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West


Starting by Seed, don’t forget Botanical Interests herb seeds.

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  1. Beware of rosemary – I loved it so much I planted it everywhere – it can become a pest and it’s definitely good at growing over everything in your flowerbed 🙂 I still love it but I try not to let it become invasive

  2. Jemma says:

    Good Morning Carole,
    Great selection of herbs that you have shared. One of my favorite is Lemon Thyme, I am sort of a nut over Thyme in any way shape over form. Love it’s robust flavor and scent.
    I enjoyed reading more about your life in Little Elm too. I just bet your rose garden/herb garden was phenomenal. I do believe that you have sparked something inside of me…I am going to see what combination I can come up with my garden in 2020.
    Blessings and Hugs,

    1. Carole West says:

      Hey Jemma – it was a good morning and then we went to calloways which made for a good afternoon. Huge fan of Lemon Thyme here especially fresh. You know it’s funny, I thought when we got our home in Little Elm that we would live there forever. Then 911 happened changed the world of aviation ( Robert’s line of work) and well the rest is history. It was a neat garden space and my kids learned a lot about herbs at a very young age. I love growing herbs and know you will too because you love to cook. Hope you had a nice weekend I think we have one more day of beautiful before another cold front comes through. Hugs, Carole

  3. Christine says:

    Love your choices although like Patti I do oregano versus marjoram! There are so many delicious herbs to choose from it would be hard to pick just five though!! lol!! One I plan on planting More of this year is cilantro!! I seriously put it in everything!! Hope your weekend is off to a great start!!

    1. Carole West says:

      Well think about doing Marjoram in a container and then bring it indoors before winter hits. You will love it, I was shocked how much I like it compared to oregano and I was a huge oregano fan for years. Cilantro is super good for you, my problem is that when I grow it, I forget how fast it grow and it goes to seed quick.

  4. Patti says:

    These are all great picks. The only one I don’t grow is marjoram. I do grow oregano which is hardier for my northern garden. However, I do love the smell of it. I just might have to pick up some this year. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Carole West says:

      You would really like Marjoram and could bring it indoors over the winter which would be pretty because it’s so delicate and pretty.

  5. daisy says:

    This is a great reference guide. Every day, it seems, we learn more about the benefits of herbs, not only in cooking, but for general health.

    1. Carole West says:

      Agree – I get more out of them for better health than vegetables which is pretty great.

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