Victory Garden Herbs

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We LOVE herbs! In warmer climates, they are very easy to grow and great to have available in the garden for cooking. If you have sunny spot in the garden, good soil and drainage, you’ve must stick an herb in the ground. Even if you don’t use it for cooking, they’re always great plants just to look at and to beautify your garden. Most of the herbs that we grow don’t take up much space and some of them re-seed themselves.

Tarragon, mint, chives and scarlet flax

Flowering Vietnamese Lemon Balm (Kinh Gioi)

1 .Lots and Lots of Basil! Italian Sweet , Lettuce leaf , Purple , Thai “Queen Siam”, Anise , Cinnamon , Lemon Basil’s

Red Rubin Basil

Note on “Thai Basil”: There are many varieties of basil used in Thai, Viet and other Asian cuisines that are collectively called “Thai Basil”. In essence they all look very similar, but if you look closely at the growth forms, they all vary considerably. The very subtle differences are evident in flavor, growth form, leaf pattern and flower spikes. Most Asian dishes and recipes that use “Thai basil” can be any of these varieties because they do look very similar. Sun, water and soil conditions also can also dictate how the plant grows: tenderness, leaf broadness , flavor and length of flower spikes. Unless you have the varieties to compare side by side to taste, touch and smell, it is very easy to assume that all “Thai Basil’s” are the same. At the nursery, most of these plants are labeled as “Thai Basil”, but could be any of the various varieties.

It can get very confusing! So many of these names are used interchangeably: Anise Basil, Asian basil, Sweet basil, Thai basil, Thai Purple basil, Thai sweet basil. There are a whole slew of names. The essential Herb garden says that there are many varieties of these.

We grow four different varieties of basil that are commonly found in Asian cuisine and collective called “Thai Basil”. We’ll try to show you the differences through the pictures and you can decide for yourself what to call the darn plants! But one thing is certain, they are very different:

OFTEN CALLED: Thai “Queen Siam” , Thai Sweet basil, Thai Magic-

This lower growing plant has smaller, slender leaves with flowers growing in short, compact clusters. Flower spikes are short. Often the leaves are bright, medium green to very light green at times. Leaves are licorice flavored.

Kitazawa and Burpee seed companies confirm that this variety is called Thai “Queen Siam”. But Evergreen seeds calls a different plant at “Queen Siam”. Confusing

OFTEN CALLED: Cinnamon Basil-

Cinnamon flavored leaves and broad. The flowers on this plant will have long, purple spikes. Throughout the life cyle of this variety and even during flowering, the leaves remain green , with a deep purple stem. The flower spikes are long (not clustered at the crown).

Evergreen Seeds calls this “Oriental Sweet Basil” & “Purple Stem”.

OFTEN CALLED: Anise Basil, Thai Red-

Often the leaves are broader, anise flavored with a tinge of deep red color on leaf surface. As soon as the flower crown develops, the leaves start to have the red tinge color on them. The flower spikes are long, but not as long as the cinnamon basil flowers

Evergreen seeds calls this “Purple Crown”. and Kitazawa Seed calls this “Thai Red”. ??


This is a variety of “Thai” basil that has smaller, narrow leaves. This variety flowers very quickly, from a small crown, resulting in spikes that are often longer than the leaf branches. The flavor is a very concentrated anise/cinnamon flavor. We have no idea what variety these are, but they are significantly different from the other three varieties that we grow. Please let us know if you the exact variety of this basil.

Kitazawa seed calls this “Langkuri” ??

Evergreen Seeds calls this “Thai Magic” ??


2. Oregano

3. Marjoram

4. French Thyme , English Thyme, Lemon Thyme

Flowering Lemon Thyme


  • Roasted Klondike Rose Potatoes with herbed goat cheese, thyme

5. Pineapple Sage

6. Tarragon


  • Sun gold tomatoes with tarragon, scallops and brown butter

7. Rosemary


8. Italian Parsley


  • Italian Parsely and garlic aioli

9. California Bayleaf

10. French & English Lavender


11. Spearmint


12. Chocolate Mint

13. Vietnamese Herbs, and lots of them. : Please Visit:

Flowering Viet Perilla (Tia To)


14. Curry Plant

15. Green & Red Japanese Shiso


16. Cilantro

Our Garden Inventory: Here is a tally of what we have grown thus far, what has died, marginally survived and what is currently flourishing in our continually evolving garden.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. tedster

    Actually it looks more like the Thai basil. No green whatsoever.

    1. White On Rice Couple

      Did the leaf texture seem more rough or smooth? Was the flavor a bit musky or earthy?

      1. tedster

        The leaf was minty, with a touch of spice. Also any tips on how to make the apple wine made in Sapa homes?

  2. tedster

    We are now in Vietnam and had a wonderful herb with a ourple leaf and stem. If we forget the accents, our vietnamese guide spelt it out as Rau tia to. Any help in identifying this with a North American name would be appreciated.

    1. White On Rice Couple

      Awesome! Have a great time in Vietnam. American name for the herb is mostly a type of perilla, often called Vietnamese Perilla. Here is the entry on our Viet Herb site: Tia To. Is this the same one you are looking for? It has a purple underside with a green top side of the leaf. Square stem. This picture was from when ours were flowering in the fall.

  3. Brigitte

    Cannot imagine my kitchen without herbs and citrus!

  4. Brigitte

    Accidents are good! Found your site because I needed to give detailed instructions to a friend for potatoes au gratin, which she ate at my house years ago. However I do not cook following detailed instructions, or any instruction,,,I just cook.
    So I cheated and went on line:)
    Thanks for your help.

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