Herbs by Emelie Tolley, celebrates herbs with their ability to stimulate the senses and bring joy to every aspect of life. With more than 450 photographs Tolley shares her visits to gardens across the US and Europe, illustrates the many ways herbs can be used to decorate a home, and provides over 40 recipes using herbs. The book is a compendium of knowledge on herbs as well as a visual treat for the eyes, and is sure to inspire even the most experienced gardener to find new ways to enjoy herbs in the garden, home, and kitchen.

Basic instructions for designing, establishing and maintaining an herb garden are followed by recommendations for 40 herbs, from angelica to yarrow. Each entry has a photograph and a description that includes it size, use, and requirements. Virtual visits to herb gardens follow with an abundance of beautiful photographs. Some of the herb gardens visited are popular choices such as the ladder garden at a home in Massachusetts, the cottage garden at Eyhorne Manor in Kent, England, or the Shakespeare garden at Fair Gardens in Nantucket. Others are less traditional like the free-form landscape at a chateau near Cannes, France, the hillside garden of a home in Southern California, or the herb walk at an herb farm in Red Hook, New York. The discussion of container herb gardening includes city terrace gardens as well as indoor herb gardening.

Believing that herbs can add scent as well as beauty to a home, Tolley discusses the many different ways herbs can be used to enhance a home. She considers methods of drying and using preserved herbs giving special attention to the making of herbal wreaths and potpourris, with detailed directions for specific projects. Tolley describes using herbs in fresh vase arrangements and Elizabethan nosegays, and provides suggestions for using potted herbs including topiary. She gives special attention decorations for Christmas using both dried and fresh herbs. Throughout the whole chapter on using herbs in the home, Tolley includes the works of various herbalist to illustrate the text creating a rich assortment of techniques and ideas.

After presenting the beauty of herbs in the garden and home, Tolley turns to the role of herbs in the kitchen where they enhance the flavor and appeal of almost every dish. The recipes include appetizers such as sage fritters, herbed walnuts, and gougere, main course dishes such as stuffed clams, lemon chicken pie, and Moroccan lamb, and desserts such as tomato and basil sorbet, frozen chocolate mint mousse, and fingerprint cookies with lemon verbena jelly. Recipes are also given for herbal teas, vinegars, oils, breads, and cheese. Each recipe includes servings, ingredient list, step by step directions in paragraph style, and photographs of the finished dish.

Published in 1985, Herbs is one of the “oldies but goodies’. It contains more information and photographs than any recent book on the subject and provides more inspiration for gardens, decor and cooking. Consider, too, that it can be bought for a bargain price now (under $5) from many different sellers.

To buy Herbs from Amazon click here.

By Karen