You need quite a good sized space to grow lovage. Once it gets established the lovage plant will grow as high as 6 foot.
When we used to make lovage soup regularly in our restuarant at White Moss House, we needed two or three plants, but now that we mostly just cook for ourselves one plant would be ample.
Lovage is a perrenial. In the winter it vanishes, so I leave a few of last year's stalks as markers. In the spring, it shows as a purple- green leaf, then quickly grows to full height in April and May.
Lovage can take partial shade and does better in soil that is fairly fertile and not too dry. If you have a longer growing season, simply direct seed it outside. In the north, start seeds indoors about 6 weeks ahead for transplanting, or buy a plant from a garden center.
Lovage seed needs to be fairly fresh, and to make sure you get one good plant, sow at least 4 seeds in a pot. When you move the plant to the garden keep it well watered for the first couple weeks, and feed with a natural fertilizer.
If you live in an area with a good garden store, you may be able to but the plant ready grown in small pots.This would be my preferred way of starting lovage in your garden, as I don't have much luck with growing from seeds where I live. Even if the weather conditions are good, the birds and mice slugs can get to the seedlings before they are established.
The first year you won't see it's full growth-it will only reach about 2 foot, but you can begin to harvest at a foot. Cut stems from the side, and chop to use in recipes.
Towards the end of the summer, your lovage plant will become rather stringy , and I find that if I cut it down firmly, it will sometimes produce a good showing of fresh leaves.
In the autumn, cut all the plant down, leaving just a few marker stalks to show you where the lovage plant will appear next year.
To see what's going on in my Grasmere, Lake District area right now you can read my blog, and for more Lake District gardening info you can real Notes From a Lake District Garden.