University of Maryland: Plant of the Week
Text by Lewis Shell
Photo by Ken Keefover-Ring
Please take the thyme to read this thymely article.
There are over 300 species of these small, evergreen, aromatic and extremely versatile perennials, and they have many uses in the landscape, providing attractive groundcovers, fragrant foliage, and colorful flowers.
It’s unfortunate that the wonderful herb, common thyme, carries such a mundane name. After all, there is nothing vulgar or common about the many attributes of thyme.
Thymus vulgaris is a small, upright shrub, growing about one foot tall and two feet wide. Its narrow to oval, aromatic leaves are gray-green and the flowers range from white to lilac in late spring and early summer.
Thyme is easy to grow in the garden, but does require well-drained soil and sometimes requires a light blanket of mulch in order to survive our winters.
One draw-back however; if it survives for two or three years, it tends to become woody and scraggly. At that thyme, its best to replace the plant with a younger specimen that will guarantee better quality leaves for culinary purposes.
With that, we’re out of thyme.