Parsley (ht 30 cm) is one of the most basic herbs and is used in many cuisines all over the world. Along with thyme and bay leaves, it is one of the essential ingredients in a bouquet garni, used for flavouring stews, soups and stocks. There are two basic types: curled and Italian (the so-called flat-leaved or Italian variety - Petroselinum crispum var neapolitanum - which has a stronger flavour and an smoother 'mouthfeel' than curly parsley). Parsley is also a decorative garden plant in its own right with its lush green leaves, and it can form an effective border to taller plantings. It is a biennial herb (it may behave as an annual in very warm areas) with a rosette of divided leaves.
In its second year it produces a tall flower stalk comprised of a flat, open umbel of many tiny greenish-white or greenish-yellow blooms, followed by small brown seeds. The flowers are very attractive to beneficial insects in the garden so try to leave a few of these stalks on the plants rather than cutting them all off! Where parsley is happy, it will self-seed if you do this. It grows best in moist, well-drained soil and enjoys regular feeding. Where the soil is too dry, it may run to seed sooner. Seeds take a while to germinate - up to four or more weeks, so be patient - or buy seedlings in a punnet! I have read that Easter is a good time to sow parsley seeds. It can grow well in a large pot.
This plant is grown from seed.