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Spring Plant Sale: Herb Recommendations

Around the Gardens Blog

Shopping the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ largest plant sale fundraiser of the year is a chance to discover and learn about unusual varieties of herbs and many other types of plants grown by the Friends’ volunteer growing groups. Here are some of the specialty herbs that our expert volunteer growers suggest you try.

 By Mindy Keyes Black

African Blue Basil

This variety of basil is prized primarily for its ability to attract bees and pollinators,” says group lead Donna Taylor. “Beekeepers love this plant. It’s a vigorous grower. It is edible but has an unusual flavor.”

‘Cool Lavender Blush’ Salvia

This is a new salvia,” says salvia chairperson Diana Jones. “It’s anise-scented sage. They bloom prolifically from early summer to first frost and are hardy here to 15 degrees.”

Lemon Verbena

Kathy Sherrer, who specializes in lemon-scented herbs, says, “It’s wonderfully fragrant. Just brush by it, and wow, the smell! It has culinary uses such as teas, salad dressings, and desserts (like pound cake). ”


I like lemongrass because it’s different,” says Jerri Barnhill, who took an interest in growing the Gardens’ lemongrass seven years ago. It’s easy to grow and unique at the garden sale.”

Pineapple Sage

“Red-flowered pineapple sage is one of our favorites,” says Diana Jones. “You can use the leaves for putting in salads or teas. It’s pineapple-scented and pineapple-flavored, just really pretty. You can walk by and pinch and smell, and I like to do that.”

‘Gorizia’ Rosemary

Says rosemary chair Mimi Boston, “This upright shrubby plant has larger than usual leaves, or needles, with complex flavor.”

‘Tuscan Blue’ Rosemary: 

This is another wonderful rosemary,” says Mimi. “It is upright and a beautiful blue bloomer.”


“This year we are focusing our efforts on four select varieties: ‘Kentucky Colonel,’ ‘Mojito,’ ‘Madeline Hill,’ and ‘Peppermint,’ ” says Donna. “They are each distinctive in their own way—it can be hard to choose!”