After the abundance of summer, with gardens producing sun-ripened tomatoes, cool crunchy cucumbers, and handfuls of fresh herbs, such as basil for pesto and dill for pickles, the thought of a winter garden can feel quite bleak.  Gardeners all over are putting their veggies patches to bed ready for next spring.

However, there are a few herbs that can keep you in with a little greenery during the cold weather.  These are herbs that can withstand nights that fall below freezing, falling dormant in the coldest months and reviving in the spring.

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The right time to add these new plants to your garden is in the springtime or late summer/early fall.  For already established plants, it is best to prune them back just before the first frost date of the season and let them sleep for the winter.

Even if you don’t have a full garden to grow in, herbs are wonderful plants for containers and can keep your porch a little livelier over the colder months.  It is always best to check your growing zone before adding new plants to your garden to see what actually grows in your area.

Sage

sage

Alice Henneman/Flickr

Cooking with sage brings about memories of holiday dinners, so having it around during the colder months makes sense. Sage is a perennial plant that will last for years.  You should plant your sage plant in full sun and make sure it has well-draining soil.  Sage does not like wet feet.

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You can enjoy sage recipes such as this Creamy Pumpkin Sage Soup, or this Show Stopper Mushroom and Sage Stuffing.  Both will be adored by your Thanksgiving Dinner guests.

Thyme

thyme

Alice Henneman/Flickr

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Thyme is a gorgeous hardy ground covering herb with tiny, yet very fragrant, leaves.  This is a perennial plant with evergreen leaves. You can harvest thyme well into the fall.  Thyme is really hard to grow from seed, so get yourself a little plant or find a friend who can give you a clipping or chunk of theirs.  Plant your thyme in a sunny spot with well-draining soil.  Thyme works very well in containers.

Thyme is a lovely herb that can be enjoyed in many recipes and not just savory ones.  Try these Chocolate Almond and Thyme Tarts as an interesting dessert, or prepare this beautiful autumn-inspired recipe for Spinach Crepes with Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Walnut Sauce.

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Oregano

Oregano

Jasmine&Roses/Flickr

Here is another hardy perennial plant that is also a wonderful ground cover.  Oregano is incredibly fragrant with zesty leaves that can be used fresh or dried.  They hold their flavor and aroma well during the drying process.  This plant grows very easily from cuttings and can be easily divided, so see if you know anyone who can share theirs.  Plant your oregano in full sun for a really good flavor.  It spreads wildly, so be ready!

Oregano can be used in all kinds of recipes, not just the classic pasta dishes.  Have a go at making this 5-Ingredient Artichoke Oregano Spread to enjoy on some flatbread or as a dip.  You can also flavor up some homemade bread like in this recipe for Potato Oregano Rolls.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Alice Henneman/Flickr

Rosemary is another perennial plant with evergreen leaves and can withstand winters in zone 7 or warmer.  Like sage, its aroma reminds us of the fall and winter holidays and all the delicious food served at that time.  Rosemary needs full sun and well-draining soil.  It can grow to about 4 feet tall and have a span of 4 feet, also, so make sure you give it the room it needs.

Why not serve this Rosemary-Garlic Chickpea Flatbread the next time you make a hearty stew?  What herb goes better with potatoes than rosemary?  Try these Rosemary Garlic Fondant Sweet Potatoes for a little twist on a classic dish.

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Chives

chive flower

Mustang Joe/Flickr

Chives are another great addition to your herb garden.  They are a perennial member of the onion family.  Clip the green leaves and the base and add them to various dishes for a subtle onion flavor.  This plant is a cool weather plant and grows best in the spring and fall.  It spreads very well, so be ready to have an abundance. However, it is easy to dig up if things are getting out of control!  Grow your chives in full or sun, or light shade, and make sure they have rich, well-draining soil.

Check out these yummy little Chive and Tahini Mini Twists that you can serve as a snack or appetizer.  Don’t miss out on this Roasted Garlic, Dill, and Chive Bean Dip that you can enjoy with crackers or crudités.

Mint

Mint

Alice Henneman/Flickr

Now, here is a plant that once you have in your garden, you will always have in your garden.  Mint is a wonderful plant to have around.  It is so incredibly easy to grow, and you will have an abundance of it for teas, drinks, and desserts. It will die back in the winter and rage again in the spring. Unless you want it to take over your entire yard, you need to pant this in a container.  It is a perennial herb that comes in many varieties from peppermint and chocolate mint to spearmint and apple mint.

Try this Mint Chocolate Smoothie, or add some fresh mint leaves to these Coconut Peppermint Balls that you can enjoy this holiday.

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