The final choice of herbs to grow has to be made by the gardener, but there are one or two points that should be kept in mind when making that choice.
Do not over estimate and get too many herbs for one small plot. Make a list of the herbs you wish to grow, then go carefully through it adding the ultimate height of each plant and the amount of room it is likely to need. Inadequate light or space for roots caused by overcrowding forces herbs to grow tall and spindly, and their scent and flavor suffer in consequence.
You could choose to have perennial herbs, spacing them apart correctly and, while they are young and small, sowing annual herbs in between to fill in the gaps. Such a scheme would permit you to grow several crops of chervil, caraway or dill before plants such as rosemary or southernwood had reached their full height.
If you have never grown herbs before, it is wiser to start with the easy ones such as thyme, chives, dill, salad burnet or the savories. Then you will not be discouraged by the slow growth and poor showing of the difficult herbs. Basil and anise come into this category, unless you live in a very warm climate, and parsley germinates so slowly in some areas that it can be difficult to grow.
Choosing whether to buy packets of herb seed or the herb plant itself largely depends on which herbs you have decided to grow and on the amount of time and effort you can devote to your herb garden.
To make an instant garden by buying herb plants is obviously more expensive than growing them from seed. Nevertheless herbs such as French tarragon, purple sage and southernwood do not, except in very warm climates, produce seed, so you must begin with a plant. It is also more encouraging to start with a rosemary plant, lavender or a bay tree. Once these plants are established you will be able to increase your stock by taking cuttings.
Most herbs will grow well from seed and produce good sturdy plants with plenty of green leaves for picking. When buying seeds try to avoid choosing and buying packets that contain mixed herbs. It is far too difficult for a beginner to identify the herbs at the seedling stage.
It is essential to buy seeds with good, clear growing instructions on the packet. Buy from a reputable seedsman and obtain your plants from specialist herb nurseries. You can buy container grown perennial herbs at any time of the year and annual herb plants from early summer onwards.
With a little luck and a lot of planning, you will have a great looking herb garden in no time at all.