seeing some incredible mixed containers I told my young
horticulturist son I had a vision of writing a column
called Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, kind of a
play on words from Simon and Garfunkel’s famous album
by the same name and of course the lyrics from
"Scarborough Fair." The idea being to
encourage you to use these herbs in mixed containers.
whoa Nellie, it appears my young 26-year-old son had
never heard of the artist, album or song. What has
happened to the world? We spent weeks in Mr. Murray’s
1969 English class studying these songs and it was the
best class ever, but I digress.
know this, remembering those lyrics or should I say
those four herbs as you design your mixed containers
will allow you to create interest with foliage, add a
touch of fragrance, dazzle with color from flowers,
bring in a few butterflies and, freshen your breath too.
Lastly, if you are a culinary artist, then these are all
available for the picking.
is the most famous garnish on the planet. As a
carnivorous meat eater, I would just soon skip the
parsley and add a couple more ounces of New York strip.
Speaking of New York, the Times had an article that says
no way parsley freshens your breath, the science is just
not there. Of course, the Romans felt differently and it
must have been famous at Scarborough Fair. As a
horticulturist, however, I love curly parsley as a one
foot tall filler plant in mixed containers. Its bright
green leaves just seem to bring out the color of
are my favorite plants for gardens and mixed containers.
Now we have to assume for lyrical purposes we are
talking the edible sage Salvia officinalis. Of course,
other species are edible including the heavenly scented
pineapple sage, Salvia Elegans. The Salvia officinalis
excels as a filler plant in mixed containers and the new
variegated varieties do their part to add a little
drama. This plant sometimes struggles in the high heat
and humidity of the south when planted in garden soil
but always performs in mixed containers that drain
freely. Drop it in with some ajuga at the front of your
box or mixed container for a picturesque arrangement.
may think of rosemary as the now official Christmas
topiary or the staple of the herb garden and both would
be correct but it also makes a terrific center or tall
plant in mixed containers. The aromatic foliage does not
go unnoticed as you walk by. The green fine textured
needle-like leaves, contrast with cool or warm season
flowers as well as a boxwood, or holly. Throughout
Georgia, they are beginning their bloom cycle as they
load up with icy blue flowers. A sprig or two may be
just the herb you are looking for to add to pork or
is something I’ve generally used among rocks or
stepping stones. The little if not diminutive creeping
red thyme, however, is a wonderful spiller creating
interest with its tiny foliage texture and then follows
up with its own version of WOW with flowers that may be
rose, lavender, red, or white. It’s like the engine
that could and you will be asking why haven’t I tried
this before? It grows 3 to 6 inches tall and spreads to
planting season is coming, albeit sooner for some of us.
Herbs make wonderful component plants in mixed
containers. If you can’t remember which ones, let the
old song remind you, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.