Rather overrated as a herb (plenty of other plants can give you that bite of anise), fennel is better used for its stately presence in summer and for its value to wildlife. No other plant gives you quite such a voluminous mound of filigree leaves nor such an airy cartwheeling of sunny flowers. The perfect neighbour for fennel is similarly svelte Verbena
bonariensis. Both will sway in the breeze and sing with caravans of jostling bees.