Miniature Culinary Herbs for Garnish
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Rex and Pamela Welbourn
Posted on: January 17, 2006

We are looking for some dwarf or miniature varieties of culinary herbs that can be used for garnish. In Ottawa, the caterers have a supplier, but we live in Kingston and would like to grow our own, since there is no supplier that we can find.

Of course fresh cut leaves from just about any culinary herb, even tall ones such as fennel or dill, can be used as garnish if appropriately cut and trimmed. But I think you mean varieties with smaller leaves or a more compact branching habit so that sprigs cut from them make a neater, more appealing presentation.

Breeders have become very active in developing new varieties of many popular herbs. Because of the wide variation of the herbs in the first place, the miniaturization effort has yielded varied results. Much more work is needed to complete and improve the range of miniature common herbs.

Some of the varieties that are smaller and more compact than standard varieties are:

* Bush basil (many varieties, include ‘Greek Bush’, ‘Purple Bush’, ‘Green Gate’, ‘Pistou’, ‘Spicy Globe’, and others. These all have tight branching habits and small to medium sized leaves.

* Pot cilantro.

* ‘Fernleaf’ dill.

* ‘Aromata’ savory.

* ‘Compact English’ thyme.

* Curled parsley, particularly ‘Afrodite’.

* Microphylla oregano.

* ‘Blue Biy’ rosemary

Others to consider are curled cress, chervil, and curled celery.

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