A friend of mine just told me she was surprised to recently find out that some herbs are perennial in Calgary. Yes, it's true! Not every herb is a heat-loving Mediterranean plant (although many are!) Here are some herbs, both perennial and annual, which grow well in Calgary:
Perennials (come back every year):
- chives - this plant is so tough I've had it survive the winter in a small pot I left on the patio! they also self-seed but grow very slowly
- oregano - I grow the gold-leafed variety (above) just for colour, but it doesn't have as strong a taste as the regular kind.
- mint - this is an easy plant to grow and my kids love rubbing their hands over the plant to release its yummy scent, just watch where you plant it as it will spread; mine is confined in a spot between the house and a patio so it won't take over the rest of the garden.
- thyme - there are several varieties, some culinary and some ornamental, all great groundcovers
Annuals (plant every spring):
- basil - heat is an absolute must for this plant so I grow it in a pot so I can ensure it gets the most sun and heat, and can bring it inside if evenings are going to be cool.
- borage - this plant self-seeds in my garden but not invasively. and it's so pretty that I let it. bees love it too! I haven't found the edible flowers to add much to salads though.
- bronze fennel - a perennial in warmer climes so if you have a hot microclimate in your garden you could try to overwinter it with some mulch protection.
- cilantro - yummy but goes to seed quickly so buy seeds to start and re-sow every few weeks
- dill - also easy to grow from seed
- parsley - easy to grow and fairly cold-tolerant
- nasturtiums - I'll save a list of edible flowers for another day but I want to include nasturtiums here because they are just so yummy; both the leaves and flowers are edible and have a peppery taste; I especially like the taste of the flowers.