Herb gardening has become a popular pastime. Herbs not only add beauty to the landscape, they are also useful. Herbs can be used in cooking, medicine, and more.

Beginning herb gardeners often have a hard time deciding which herbs to plant in their gardens. It would be impossible to plant them all in one garden. So here are five of the best:

1. Calendula

Calendula is a member of the marigold family. Also known as pot marigold, calendula is smaller and more fragile than the marigolds we plant in our flower gardens.

Calendula has numerous uses for both health and beauty. It fights fungal infections, assists in digestion, and can cure diaper rash. It can also be used to make skin cream, and a strong infusion can be used to lighten hair.

2. Basil

Basil can survive in a little or a lot of sun and is easy to care for. Its flowers are beautiful, and it can be used in a variety of dishes. Although it is known for its use in Italian food, it also goes well with many meats and vegetables.

3. Lavender

Lavender’s beautiful purple flowers and sweet fragrance are a favorite of gardeners everywhere. And lavender is also one of the most useful herbs around.

Culinary uses of lavender include making syrup for jellies and flavoring fruit salad, milk and cream. Lavender is famed for its aromatherapy qualities. It can also be infused and applied to soothe insect bites, or its oil can be used on the temples for headaches. Some enjoy lavender tea before bedtime, claiming that it helps them sleep better.

4. Garlic

While garlic is not known for its pleasant scent, the plant has been used for medicinal and cooking purposes for many years. Garlic is a powerful antibacterial agent, and it can help prevent colds and the flu. It also reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and is thought to offer some protection against cancer.

5. Goldenrod

Goldenrod makes a beautiful border plant for your herb garden, and it also has a number of medicinal uses. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal. Goldenrod can be used reduce phlegm when suffering from respiratory infections, to get rid of varicose veins, and to ease the pain of colic.

There are many more useful herbs that one could plant in an herb garden. The herbs you should plant depend on whether you want herbs that are for cooking, fragrance, or medicinal purposes. Some herbalists plant a specific type of herb garden, while others grow a combination of all three.

No matter why you are growing herbs, it is important to consider the amount of sun your garden gets and what type of soil it has. Herbs can be a wonderful addition to your landscape, but each one has its own specific needs.