I have a new addition to my drought tolerant herb collection; thyme. Common Thyme or English Thyme (Latin name Thymus vulgaris) is another Mediterranean native, so it’s perfect for my dry garden too. These herbs grow as small shrubs or shrublets with tiny, oval leaves measuring just 1/4 inch long. They are perennial and flower in late spring to early summer in little whorls on the tips of the stems. The flowers are shaped like tiny trumpets, usually in white or pale
Ordinary kitchen thyme is best grown in Sunset Zones 1-24 or USDA Zone 4-8. It grows up to a foot tall and can spread two feet around. Older branches take on a woody look at feel at the bottom. They make nice groundcovers or a low edging in dry areas. In the ground they can take full sun to part shade. Try them along a pathway or let them spill over a low wall or planter. Thyme is a classic ingredient in Medieval knot gardens. In pots I have trouble keeping up with enough water for them in full sun, so I’ve moved them to part shade and they seem to do better during hot summers in my
One of the most popular of the scented thymes is lemon scented thyme, sometimes called German Thyme (thymus x citriodorus) with a strong lemony scent. It comes in a variegated form (thymus citriodorus variegata). This enchanting herb has bright green with either silvery or creamy golden highlights around the edges. This charmer usually stays under 8 inches tall but can spread to two feet. It is excellent fresh or dried with chicken and
In the kitchen thyme can be used either fresh or dried. It goes well with poultry and eggs and adds rich flavor to soups and stews. Thyme also has a long history in the medicine cabinet. It has carminative, antiseptic and expectorant properties. It has been used as a tea for respiratory problems and gastrointestinal
The lore of thyme is also rich. It was used in Greece to give courage and energize the sprit. To say another “smelled of thyme” was a rich compliment. Thyme was burned whole as an incense to cleanse and purify temples. Sleeping with a bit of thyme under your pillow is said to prevent nightmares.
Thyme is said to be a favorite plant of elves and fairies. I too am enchanted by thyme. Try some an you will be too.
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