Their leaves are rough or leathery, in shades of gray or blue-green. They thrive among sand and rocks and gravel. Though often woody, they’re kept low and scrubby by the nibbling of goats, and by occasional fires, fueled by the volatile oils from their aromatic leaves.
These are the classic garden herbs, celebrated in kitchens and folk ballads, from Scarborough Fair to Colonial Williamsburg. Rosemary, sage, winter savory, marjoram and thyme are so commonly grown, it is hard to remember that they were born to hate the rich soil of our gardens, and sometimes our climate as well.