An Introduction to Herbs that can be used around the House and in the Garden
Herbs have been used in gardens and households for millennia and are even mentioned in the Koran , where the Garden of Paradise was strewn with musk and saffron. In medieval times, when most European households had packed earth floors, thyme was used to mask unpleasant odours and wormwood used to repel fleas. The task was so important that in the Royal Court there was an official “Strewer of Herbs”.
Before the advent of synthetic dyes in the 19th Century, many dyes were made from plants. As far back as Tutankhamun , the plant Madder was used to produce a red dye, this was discovered after analysis of garments found in the tomb. Popular dyes in the 4th Century were woad and indigo, both producing a blue dye, although indigo had the edge as it was colour fast to both light and washing.
Gardeners have always been keen to make their own concoctions, whether to deter insects, treat mildew or reduce damage from pests. A number of herbs are fly repellents, such as lavender, basil, thyme, rosemary and mint and are useful to plant around doorways and on the patio.