We have a big bush of fennel growing beside the clothesline in the back garden. It comes back every year and although we don't use it for cooking all the family pick some and eat it as they are going along.We also do the same with the chive plant which has lovely purple flowers at this time of the year.
I have never grown it myself, but I lived with someone many years ago who had it growing wild on a terraced slope in his backyard. It needs at least 6 hrs. sun and can get very large, as it is a perennial herb. I recommend planting from seed in well-drained soil. Florence fennel is the most common variety for both bulb and greens. It needs regular water. It can cross-pollinate w/ similar herbs like dill and coriander (cilantro), so keep them separated. If you like the tender bulb, protect it from the sun by mounding w/ soil or cheesecloth to keep it from turning green. It naturally attracts butterflies, both black and yellow swallowtails. If you don't want the larvae to eat the plant, BT is an organic control. I prefer to let them munch a bit. What is your experience?