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perennial Flavours
There is an oft bandied around myth which needs to be laid to rest: “perennial herbs do not grow in the cities and plains of Pakistan” which, with the odd exception, is patently untrue!

A ‘perennial herb’ is a culinary or medicinal (sometimes both) plant that lives for a number of years and this number varies according to species. The myth points, quite implacably, at herbs introduced from Europe, the Americas, China and Japan where annual average climatic conditions are so very different than in Pakistan. Such herbs, however, can, with proper care and attention, survive surprising well which is great news for gardeners with herbs in mind.

Among the most reliable of these are the popular culinary and medicinal herbs commonly known as ‘thyme’ and ‘oregano’, used in Italian and Greek cuisine and in medicinal herbal teas too. Both of these, from seed sown at the end of September through to the end of October, survive perfectly well if grown in shady, well drained, spots (such as beneath trees) as long as they receive enough – but not too much water on a regular basis, preferably in the evening.

Then there are rosemary and sage – bushy, sometimes tall growing, perennials – with a whole host of uses and which, especially if cultivated in cool, clay pots, are perfectly happy in the winter sun and the summer shade if, this is important, they have protection from debilitating winds.

Agastache, aniseed, Bowles apple mint, chamomile, chives, garlic chives, lemon balm plecanthrus, peppermint, spearmint and yarrow, with flavours ranging from liquorice to citrus are all, with appropriate doses of tender loving care, quite capable of surviving simmering summers to provide an almost (they may take a brief break at some point) endless supply of useful herbs to use whichever way you prefer.

The myth is thus laid to rest!

– B Khan

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 14, 2014.