Published on 02/03/99

New Book Helps Add Richness of Herbs to Southern Gardens

Whether you're a beginning gardener or a seasoned veteran, growing herbs can be well worth the effort, says a University of Georgia horticulture professor.

"Once you begin to flavor meats and soups with your own plants, all other cooking becomes bland," said Wayne McLaurin, an Extension Service horticulturist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

"Vegetables, breads, drinks -- even desserts," he said, "demand the heightened character brought about by herbs."

McLaurin's an expert

McLaurin should know. He wrote the book on herbs. He and his wife Sylvia, at least, wrote the book Georgia and other Southern gardeners may least want to be without.

herbbook1.gif (20321 bytes)"Herbs in the Southern Garden" is a newly published practical guide to growing herbs in the deep South. To get a copy, send $5 to: Ag Business Office, 203 Conner Hall, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

McLaurin said he and Sylvia, a Master Gardener who is also on the UGA faculty in instructional development, took a practical approach to the book.

"We wanted it to be scientifically based, but user- friendly, too," he said. "It's easy reading, with practical tips people can use to add the richness of herbs to their gardens, kitchens and landscapes."

Southern experts and beginners in mind for book

chive.jpg (16714 bytes)The book has 45 color plates and handy details on 52 herbs Southern gardeners can grow. It tells not just how to grow them, but when and how to harvest them to get the best flavors. It even has recipes, a helpful glossary and a list of references.

It's clear the McLaurins had fun crafting this how-to book on herbs for Southern gardens. Among the practical tips is a section on 10 starter herbs almost anybody can grow.

(62624 bytes)"My starter hint for mint is to give it to a neighbor four houses down," he laughs. "Mint takes over everything. It will be a weed in no time. It's very aggressive."

More experienced gardeners, he said, can truly enrich their lives with herbs. "The variety of herbs home gardeners have today would once have been unimaginable," he said.

The book focuses on herbs Southern gardeners can grow. "These herbs can be grown from the Carolinas into Louisiana and Texas," McLaurin said. "It isn't meant to be an end-all kind of book. It's a handy, fun, quality reference on herbs for Southern gardeners."

Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.