“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” If you are an herbalist, “healthy” might be your answer. There are all kinds of hobbies a person can pursue; skydiving, goat roping, bungee jumping, and the list goes on. If you are more in mind of developing one that is safer, growing garden herbs might be for you.

A hobby should be safe on the one hand, and produce something that is pleasing or constructive on the other. Herbal gardening gets the nod on both these fronts. It’s also a relatively inexpensive way to spend time. If you have the space to plant, and it doesn’t require a lot of space, you can become a gardener with a purpose.

The only really important tools you must have to grow herbs are your patience and determination. Sure it is nice to have a tiller to break up the ground before planting, and hoes and other tools are needed to tend the garden, but your attitude and love for what you are doing is what makes the experience special. It should never be looked at as though it were a job.

As with any hobby, you must find a starting point, then grow and improve as time goes by. Start modestly with a few herbs that you can use and, if all works well, you can add more the next growing season. There is no race to run or required achievement level. Gardening of any kind should be relaxing and comforting. Go at a pace that is comfortable for you.

Herbs supply at least four things:

* They are medicinal, as is documented through clinical research.

* They are aromatic, as with lavender and mint, to mention a few.

* They are pretty, as many varieties rival flowers for beauty.

* They are culinary, as in all the different varieties of seasonings and garnishments.

Is there anything else that could be planted that yields so many different attributes?

If the herb garden is to be your new hobby, or continuing one, you need to plan for the present planting as well as the future. Place your garden in an area that can be a focal point and is also easy to access. Herbs need sunlight for a good portion of the day, and they need to be elevated enough that water will flow away.

The same way that you plant flower gardens, place the plants that grow tallest behind the shorter ones. Leave room to access each plant. If there are only two rows, this is fairly simple. Allow for the spreading of the plant, because some will have runners and need more space.

Hobbies are good only if you enjoy them. If one gets to be too much work, it is no longer a hobby. Growing garden herbs is a pleasant hobby for the person who loves nature. It can be right for you; just give it a chance. Happy herb gardening!