With all of the hustle and bustle, it is hard for the modern millennial to put down roots. But, with or without a green-thumb, if you know where to look and what to grow — a blossoming love affair may just sprout up this spring.
After a few years of doubting my crop-raising prowess, I put spade to dirt and dove in to the leafy life. My grandfather was a gardener throughout my childhood and planted within me a deep love of the outdoors and a passion for watching things grow. Now, as a (somewhat) adult, I want to cultivate that passion with action. Established in early 2018, my little patch of herb heaven has grown into a wild success – all seedlings have rooted into beautiful, leafy ladies that have an astounding array of uses! With care, I have been able to grow strands of sage, spearmint, oregano, parsley, cilantro, lavender, basil, and rosemary.
Ready to dig into some dirt? Check out a list of easy greens for beginners and the best garden spots in the Queen City to get you growing. And welcome to my garden, with its unique band of herbs.
(1) Spearmint (#BritneySpearmint)
From my garden: I give you #BritneySpearmint, a feisty little diva that smells wonderful and is sure to get a lot of my attention. She settled into a nice, sunny corner of the flowerbed to ensure lots of sunlight for firm stalks and proper spreading.
Why you need her in your garden: Feeling a little off? Throw a few leaves into a hot cup of tea. Spearmint has a soothing influence on headaches, indigestion and more.
Tip: Spearmint can be grown indoors for fresh leaves throughout the Winter months.
(2) Cilantro (#SillyAnnie)
From my garden: Say wazzzzzzup to #SillyAnnie. She’s a fun and funky femme fatale that smells like heaven with a sinful sense of humor. Definitely going to be entertaining to watch her grow. Because of her shallow root system, a low and wide area is needed so her roots can spread out and absorb all the water she can.
Why you need her in your garden: Got a case of the bellies? Cilantro aids the body in efficient digestion – a little bit of this chopped herb can help settle nausea, prevent gas and bloating, relieve heartburn and even ease the pain associated with stomach cramps.
Tip: Choose a sunny or lightly shaded area to plant cilantro. Our Southern climate (with hot summer weather) causes the herb to quickly grow. Make sure the surrounding soil is well drained and moist.
(3) Lavender (#LavishDee)
From my garden: Yo yo yo, check out the infamous #LavishDee. She’s got beauty, she’s got stamina and she smells AWESOME. Definitely a staple on the garden main stage. Doing her best in constantly moist soil, this beauty sits in a raised plot of dirt with a soil barrier (think small-scale mote) for water retention and quenched roots.
Why you need her in your garden: Is Father Time starting to catch up with you? Lavender’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties not only help with skin conditions (acne, age spots) but also have been proven to reverse the signs of aging.
Tip: Lavender is a little picky – she likes alkaline soil. So, keep that in mind when you are prepping her particular spot in your garden.
(4) Parsley (#ElvaParsley)
From my garden: Look who showed up to the party, it’s miss #ElvaParsley. She ain’t nothing but a ground herb, growing all the time and shimmying those stalks for the whole garden. With her amped up growth rate, it is smart to plant this lady somewhere that alternates time in direct sunlight and shade. I have an awesome little sapling that shades one side of my flowerbed – the perfect spot for optimal flourishing.
Why you need her in your garden: Truly a legend in the herb world, parsley contains certain elements known as volatile oil components. These little miracle workers greatly benefit our immune system and can help fight cancer formation, slow the rate of tumor growth and block carcinogens from harming the body.
Tip: Parsley is super friendly – she gets along with everybody. You can plant multiple herbs with this social herb without worrying about any dominance issues.
(5) Rosemary (#MyBabyRosemary)
From my garden: Say hello to #MyBabyRosemary. This devilish little gal is a cult classic in the herb circles and is sure to leave a lasting impression on all the beauties in her garden complex. Sitting right in the center of the lineup, this diva has a strong aroma that helps keep damaging bugs away from the rest of the girls.
Why you need her in your garden: Whoa, where’d I leave my keys? Rosemary is a great and natural way to improve overall cognitive abilities. It increases alertness, improves primary and secondary memory factors and (when mixed with #LavishDee) produces a feeling of ease and contentment.
Tip: Rosemary is a little slow to start when she first goes into the ground, but do not get discouraged – by her second year she really fills out.
My favorite places to shop for these garden girls
Wilson’s Nursery & Garden Center
921 W. Main St., Rock Hill, SC 29730
Serving the Queen City and surrounding areas for over 60 years, the knowledgeable and friendly staff at Wilson’s Nursery & Garden Center are ready to help you transform your bland patch of dirt into a stunning arrangement of fresh herbs.
Mills Garden Herb Farm
732 Mills Garden Road, Statesville, NC
For the super committed herb grower, Mills Garden Herb Farm is a must. About an hour away in Statesville, NC, this low-key herb haven is a wonderland for all of the Alices looking to fall down the rabbit hole into gardening bliss. With events, classes and showcases – the staff at Mills Garden is committed to the art of growing herbs.
524 Stallings Road in Stallings, NC
Right behind the checkout line, King’s Greenhouse has their Herb House – a mesmerizing array of fresh herbs just ready to be planted.
Rountree Plantation, INC
517 Rountree Road
A beautiful one-stop-shop dream for any plant lover, novice or old-hat. Rountree Plantation, INC. is a full-service center with everything you need for a thriving herb garden; from organic lawn products to one-of-a-kind accessories.
Southern Styles Nursery & Garden Center
4245 Rea Road
With over 60 varieties of herbs (boasting 10 varieties of mint alone), Southern Styles Nursery & Garden Center is a primo place for any first-time farmer. Prices range from $3.50 to roughly $26.00.