Rely heavily on Mediterranean herbs, which prefer to be watered often but have good drainage-- and which are most compatible with your climate.
I would suggest Rosemary, perhaps one of the trailing/creeping varietals, as well as as many thymes, at least one Basil, some Sage. You could put in some Calendulas or Borage, which are annuals, and which have flowers (Calendulas are orange-yellow, and Borage is blue).
Thyme comes in such a variety of cultivars that you could do an entire garden of it, and it is fragrant and useful for cooking and medicine.
Sage comes in at least 4 different color varietals.
With a big enough pot, you can grow mint(s) but they need to be kept watered often, and you will need to change the soil every year or so.
Lemon Balm is also fragrant, less usual, hardy, and grows well in pots, though it tends to exhaust the soil also.
Costmary (Bible Leaf) is fragrant and unusual, though not really good for much :)
Marjoram and the Savories (winter and summer) make nice pot plants also.
Howdy! Central Florida can mean a pretty big territory but if you're in the greater Orlando area check out the Herb Society of Central Florida. They meet at Leu Gardens, generally on the first Monday of the month at seven o'clock. Mostly a pretty nice bunch. I've been a member on and off for years, even after I moved to Gainesville. I've often driven down for a meeting. Chuck and Lois Clark have a wonderful garden and the society has toured it several times on a meeting night--they're a great resource. Brandon Brown and Jean Dell are great--they used to own a nursey that was very herb oriented. And the potlucks can be to die for.
Florida is hell on wheels when it comes to growing a lot of plants. The heat, humidity and rain can wipe your plants out. The advice you'll often be given--consider our summer like the north's winter. You'll lose a bunch of plants and have to start over again in the fall.
If you're willing to go container gardening, you can have some more success, if you're willing to pull the plants into the shade on the really bad days. It's worked for me anyway. Wherever you plant, consider drainage carefully. Use raised beds and consider adding coarse sand and/or perlite. I never have any success with plastic pots, but some do. I go with unglazed terracotta.
Anyway, here in Gainesville, I've had success with rosemary, comfrey, lemon grass, vetiver planted in the ground and left to their own devices. Culinary ginger and turmeric will do well, too. I love lavender and buy it and know I'll be broken hearted, again. I've pulled a couple scented geraniums through the summers--the larger leafed varieties are most likely to be successful. I love apple geranium and had one survive through a summer and a half. A late summer deluge did it in. The mints can be pretty tenacious, as long as they get enough water. Aloe is usually a safe bet. I haven't had much success with sages or thymes making it without a lot of assistance. The culinary sages have been weaklings, but I have ornamental salvias reseeding themselves all the time.
Herbs I like when I'm doing a lot of cooking and such--salad burnet (tastes like cucumber), dill, thyme, curry leaf tree (this is not curry plant), garlic chives, chives, various mints.
Places to look--Susan Voss's Rabbit Hill Gardens in Mt. Dora http://floridaherbs.com/
and Seminole Springs Antique Rose and Herb Farm http://www.rosesandherbs.com/
Oh, and the herb society has a raffle every meeting, often you can find the neatest plants.
Just as an aside, if you're interested in antique roses, there are some varieties that will not bloom here in Florida, except after the rarest of winters. We just don't get enough hours of cold, back to back, for them to bloom. I'm not saying they won't grow, you'll probably get a lovely large shrub, just no flowers.
I always make sure that I have chives in my herb garden. I use them in dips, tuna salad, egg salad, omelets - you can use chives in so many ways. I've used them in place of scallions, too.
Basil and creeping thyme are staples in my herb garden as well, and I like to have French tarragon on hand. I live in the midwest, though, so I'm not sure how they (especially the tarragon) would do in the Florida climate.
I like to have at least one tobasco pepper plant, and this year I have a jalapeno pepper plant as well. They have a fun ornamental value as well as an edible one. It seems to me that these would grow well in the southern states.
French tarragon will not survive in Florida for very long. I'm not a tarragon fan, but I do know there's something that's called Mexican tarragon (I think). It's not an artemisia, I believe it's a marigold. Some people prefer it to the real thing. On the subject of artemisias, I've had Powys Castle Artemisia do well, until the lawn guy mowed it down, so I suspect wormwood would do well in the ground. Mugwort, I think does okay, but for some reason, it sticks in my mind that southernwood was less cooperative.
Patchouli should do very well, again, until the lawn guy mows it down. Sigh.
I forgot basils, but yes, they should do pretty well, especially if you keep them pinched back. Holy basil (tulsi) is a variety from India and India's got us beat for hot, humid and rainy. The various pepper plants do pretty well, too.
I just moved to Orlando, and I'm trying to get some herbs and vegetables to grow on my patio. Let me know how everything works out for you!
Oh, I've seen this!! I think it's an awesome setup.