I am a real sucker when it comes to thyme plants. I can be found at plant fairs hunting them out, as others hunt truffles. They come in all shapes and sizes. They can vary in scent from wonderful spicy orange and a herby lemon to a pungent pine. The leaves can vary from large and round to long and thin, or even woolly. I defy any one not to want them in the garden especially when they are in flower. Historically they have been used medicinally since Assyrian times, which was at the end of the second millennium BC. Current research has shown Thymus vulgaris arrest the ageing process and is very beneficial in the treatment of stomach ulcers.
My collection has expanded over the past two decades to over 50 different thyme varieties and it is at this time of year they look so beautiful.
The best culinary thymes in my opinion are, Orange scented, Thymus ‘Fragrantissimus’, Broad leaf thyme, Thymus pulegioides, Golden lemon thyme, Thymus ‘Golden Lemon’, Lemon thyme, Thymus ‘Culinary Lemon’ and French thyme, Thymus vulgaris ‘French’
If I had to just choose one it would be the broad leaved thyme as this is so useful with its large leaves that can be used whole or chopped, roasted with vegetables,
used in marinades, or infused in water then added to the bath to ease my aching muscles.
The creeping varieties are wonderful for bees and butterflies and spread delightfully over gravel and rocks. Here are just four to inspire you.
My top tip for growing thymes is to cut them back after flowering, this encourages the plant to put on new growth which helps to protect them from the vagaries of the winter.
We will be taking a lovely selection of Thymes to this years RHS Hampton Court , 2nd-8th July, where I am going to create a small herb garden that you will be able to walk through. This will be situated down by the Rose Marquee site number TH/5 and near the Thames entrance. Look forward to seeing you there.