A tender perennial, lemongrass provides a tall background accent, wonderful sound in the garden when the breeze blows through its long grass, and a splendid flavor boost in the kitchen. It is very easy to grow, withstanding temperatures as low as 10 to 20 degrees, requiring only full sun and good drainage.

To harvest lemongrass, cut at ground level or pull off one sheaf at a time from the base of the plant. Take care, as the edges of the leaves are quite sharp. Use lemongrass fresh or dried — I like to take several stems, tie them in a loose knot, and add them to a pot of boiling rice — lovely fragrance and mysterious flavor is thus added to a rather bland food.

The leaves of lemongrass turn a lovely golden brown in the winter — a great accent in the winter garden, and then cut it back drastically in the spring when the weather warms up. In no time, new green leaves will emerge from the sheared clump of last year’s growth.