Thyme for Herbs

Mays Plant

Try planting a selection of tasty herbs valued as much for their ornamental appeal as their flavour. From sage to thyme, rosemary to clipped bay and flowering chives, combine herbs valued for their ornamental beauty to produce long-lasting displays as well as regular pickings for the kitchen.

Try flavouring casseroles, soups and sauces with homemade bouquet garni made from sprigs of thyme and parsley wrapped in a bay leaf. Alternatively other herbs can be added to suit your culinary creations, such as rosemary, basil, chervil or tarragon. Herbs have so many uses from using fresh in cooking, making pesto, infusing into herb oils and vinegars, or making herb teas.

A wonderful assortment of herb plants are available at Coletta & Tyson now, so buy your favourites to create your own culinary herb gardens. Many herbs can be raised from seed too, so buy packets of coriander, basil, parsley, chives and many others. 

FOUR HARDY HERBS FOR POTS OR BORDERS

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Mint varieties

Chives – both regular onion flavoured and Garlic Chives.

Thyme (Thymus varieties)

Include AGM winners like golden thyme (Thymus ‘Aureus’), ‘Silver Queen’, ‘Pink Chintz’, lemon scented ‘Bertram Anderson’.

Several shrubby herbs can be clipped and trained into formal topiary features. These living sculptures not only look striking but their clippings can be used in cooking or dried and stored.

The best herb topiaries are created using upright growing varieties of rosemary, sweet bay, sage, lemon verbena, Greek myrtle, or even tender perennials like scented leaf pelargoniums.

Popular shapes for training bay include balls, cones, pyramids, spirals and standards (with a clipped head on a short woody leg). Skilled commercial growers even create bay trees with striking twisted corkscrew stems.

TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL HERB GARDENS

  1. Although many herbs are of Mediterranean origin and relish hot dry conditions, to get the best from herbs in pots most require regular watering to prevent their compost drying out completely. Try standing pots in saucers of water so pots can take up moisture as required.
  2. Add fertiliser to one watering a week to keep plants growing strongly, or mix slow-release fertiliser granules into compost at planting time.
  3. Regular picking some herbs, like basil, encourages side shoots to form, keeping plants bushy and productive.
  4. Pick and dry the leaves of herbs like thyme, sage, bay and many others to store and use when cooking.
  5. The flowers of many herbs can be used to brighten summer salads. Use flowers from chives, basil, coriander and thyme, and flowers or petals from daylilies, pot marigolds, nasturtium, lavender and others. NB Always check flowers are edible before eating.
  6. Coriander has a habit of bolting or running to seed, but enjoy their flowers as they’ll encourage beneficial insects, like hoverflies, into your garden. Let plants set seed, then collect and dry coriander seeds to grind and use when cooking spicy Indian dishes.

 

 

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