Fennel is a gorgeous, strong-scented plant with lacy foliage. It is often paired with basil in an edible landscape. The flower of fennel is umbel-shaped, like yarrow, and the beneficial insects and pollinators love it. Fennel attracts ladybugs, hoverflies, parasitic wasps, and lacewings.
Not only are the dainty chamomile flowers cute as a button, they work hard for us in the garden. Chamomile has been called “the plant’s physician” because it supports and appears to heal almost any plant it is planted next to.
Chamomile is a fertilizer plant, its roots dredging up potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Mulching with the spent plants will help improve your soil. The flowers attract pollinators, and beneficial insects are attracted to the lacy foliage. It is said to especially improve cabbage and onion crops, and it works well under fruit trees, too.
Comfrey is perhaps the most important mulch plant. It’s at the top of the list of natural fertilizers, accumulating potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and a handful of other nutrients in its large leaves. It is commonly planted underneath fruit trees and throughout the vegetable garden.
Chives are a more common herb, and for good reason. It’s useful in the kitchen and easy to grow.
Another fertilizer plant, chives accumulate potassium and calcium. I like to plant chives at the ends of my garden beds. Giving the plants a haircut a few times a year, its easy to mulch the garden beds with the clippings to add some free fertilizer.
One of the most useful additions to a productive garden, white clover is a nitrogen-fixing herb. All vegetable and fruit plants require nitrogen to produce healthy crops, but they can’t access the nitrogen in the soil.
It has a clumping growth habit, so it won’t spread into areas you don’t want it to, but it is fast-growing and prolific, so it can be cut back frequently to use as a fertilizer.
Its scent will confuse pests in search of your vegetables or fruit crops.
Often called the bee herb, the white flowers bloom all season and are popular with bees. Lemon balm’s foliage is a popular egg-laying site for lacewings, a beneficial insect.