Thyme…

imageThyme is a low growing, hardy perennial, but can reach a height of 12 inches under optimum growing conditions. Thyme likes to creep, so it can live either on the windowsill or hanging from a basket.

Soil – Thyme requires an airy, light, fast-draining soil; a mixture of two parts sterilized potting soil to one part of coarse sand or perlite works well.

Container – Thyme does well in just about any type of container. Be sure to lace drainage holes at the bottom of the container and cover these with small stones or pebbles. Thyme does not like to have its roots soggy.

Light Requirements – Thyme, like Rosemary requires at least 6 hours of direct sun per day. Turn plant for even growth because it will tend to grow toward the light source. An east facing window is a good location for your thyme plant.

Starting by Nursery Plant –Thyme is best grown by starting with a plant obtained from a reputable nursery. Its root system is rather delicate though, so be sure to remove the plant from its original pot carefully, leaving as much of the original soil around the roots as possible.

Watering – Water regularly, but not excessively. Let the soil dry slightly between watering. Thyme is naturally drought resistant.

Care – Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Don’t fertilize in winter, because there is little growth during those months.

Varieties –

French-Thyme-Seeds French or Common Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
This sub-shrub is the thyme of the kitchen garden. One attractive cultivar for hanging baskets is silver thyme (T. vulgaris ‘Argenteus’).

 

 

Thyme_Red_Creeping_84 Red Creeping Thyme (T. praecox subsp. britannicus)
The tiny leaves of this thyme have very little scent or flavor, so it is mostly used ornamentally as groundcover. The flowers are purple to mauve. Commonly sold cultivars include ‘Doone Valley’, ‘Kew’, and ‘Albus’.

 

Variegated_Lemon_Thyme_Thymus_citriodorus_variegata_Leaves_3264px Lemon Thyme (Thymus 5 citriodorus)
This spreading subshrub reaches a foot tall. It’s one of the best for cooking—and one of the most fragrant. Watch for variegated cultivars such as ‘Aureus’ (golden edges), ‘Golden King’ (mostly gold), and ‘Silver Queen’ (cream to light yellow edges).

 

caraway thyme Caraway Thyme (Thymus herba-barona)
This creeping thyme grows 2 to 5 inches tall with pink flowers. Caraway thyme comes from the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, so it can take higher levels of humidity and rain, making it a good candidate for Southern gardens.

 

 

titaniaIn A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare wrote that Titania, the Queen of the Faeries, often went to "a bank whereon the wild thyme blows," committing to history the old English tradition that patches of thyme were favorite playgrounds of faeries. – http://suite101.com/article/a-brief-history-of-thyme-a69675

The genus name, Thymus, has its origin in the Greek words for soul or spirit. Thyme has long been associated with burial practices, going back as far as ancient Greece, where branches were strewn on coffins and planted at grave sites. In Egypt, oil of thyme was used in embalming, and it was believed by some that the spirits of the dead inhabited thyme blossoms…

Throughout history, the herb was also a symbol of fortitude. During the French Revolution, republicans in the south of France used it as an attribute of their cause. Highland Scots concocted a drink from wild thyme to give themselves courage. There are many accounts of people making a soup from thyme and beer that was regarded by some as a possible cure for shyness. If the thyme didn’t do the trick, perhaps the beer would.  – http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/best-of-thymes

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