It is always nice to have a little herb garden by the kitchen door, but I had never thought about caring for Herbal Houseplants ($24.99 Cool Springs Press) that would work in the kitchen – and in the living room. Susan Betz has given us a handsome little book that opens new worlds of the herbs that will grow indoors, and that will also show us how to use fragrant herbs like patchouli and lavender, or just have fun with sea onions.
Herbal Houseplants begins with a Primer offers basic information about caring for herbs indoors. Knowing how much light each herb will require, the temperature and humidity, soil mixtures, necessary watering and fertilizing. We gardeners always need to consider these basic necessities.
It is thinking about bugs from aphids to whitefly and diseases that make us put on our thinking hats. Susan Betz also reminds us of the necessary special considerations of bringing herb plants indoors.
Chapter Two provides information for each herb from chives to thyme. I confess Betz reminded me that chives can be frozen and used three months later. There will also be instructions for certain plants like horehound. Maybe you’d like to make your own cough drops?
Chapter Three is about fun and fragrance. We know lavender is fragrant, and we can use it to make sachets. I did not know that eucalyptus can freshen the air, “filtering out harmful compounds in the air, making it much healthier to breathe?” Amazing! There is so much to learn about all these herbs and Susan Betz is a gentle and knowledgeable teacher.
Scented leaf geraniums get their own chapter, Chapter Six will give advice about preserving the herbal harvest, and even a couple of recipes like Pesto Cheesecake. These chapters show that
Susan Betz is a member of the International Herb Association and other organization including a life member of the Herb Society of America.