Again and again, some herbs seem worth the effort that don't get nearly enough praise or press . . . in my opinion, anyway. These 10 herbs are personal favorites. You might want to give them a try if you haven't already.
10.Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) - Perennial in Zones 9 and 10
This tall sage has light green leaves and red, trumpet shaped flowers that bees and butterflies love. It does smell like pineapple and makes a great ingredient in fruit salads and teas.
9.Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum) - Perennial in Zones 8 through 11 (Marginal to zone 6 in sheltered locations.)
8. Paprika (Capsicum annuum) - Annual
Paprika is most often used in the U.S. as a seasoning for cold dishes, like potato salad and deviled eggs. Its flavor really shines in hot dishes, though. Paprika is available in a number of varieties, from hot to sweet. Try a few in your garden and you'll be a paprika convert.
7. Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) - Perennial in Zones 11 up
This little sweetener-that-could is tricky to start from seed, but easy to grow after that. Dried and powdered, it's an inexpensive low-cal sugar substitute that's always a conversation starter. The Japanese have been using it for decades.
6. Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) - Perennial in Zones 7 and Up
This first cousin to oregano is milder and a little more delicate in the garden. It's a great all-purpose seasoning, though, that works with robust sauces and soups as well as all different varieties of meat, foul and fish.
5. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) - Perennial in Zones 3 to 9
4. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) - Perennial in Zones 3 to 9
Even if you don't have cats, you might want to give catnip a try this year. Catnip oil is kryptonite to termites, and if you have an ailing tree or decaying stump, a catnip plant nearby may prove to be good insurance policy.
3. Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) - Perennial in Zones 9 and 10
Like lemon balm on steroids, lemon eucalyptus is very fragrant, and the dried leaves make an attractive and luscious addition to potpourri. The oil is a natural pest repellent and a luxurious base for your homemade cleaning products.
Near a downspout or faucet, Corsican mint is the delicate mint that smells like a spring morning. Overwinter it in a tabletop solarium.
1. Saffron (Crocus sativus) - Perennial in Zones 6 to 9
The stigma of this late season crocus is the king of spices, and you might be able to grow it in your own backyard. Saffron crocus flowers in late summer or early fall instead of early spring. A patch of 20 to 30 bulbs could net you enough saffron for a season.
Corsican mint photo - By David Eickhoff from Pearl City, Hawaii, USA (Mentha requienii Uploaded by Tim1357) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMentha_requienii_(5596580103).jpg
Crocus Photo - By Photographer: User:Velela (File:Safrron stigmas crocus sativa.JPG) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons