herb of the week

Townsville Bulletin - - The Goss -

GAR­DEN thyme ( Thy­mus vul­garis) is a low-grow­ing peren­nial to around 40cm tall. Tiny aro­matic leaves are born on erect stems. Small li­lac flow­ers are borne in sum­mer and they are quite at­trac­tive. It orig­i­nates from the Mediter­ranean. Thyme re­quires a hot, sunny lo­ca­tion and is at its aro­matic best if grown in well-drained soils that are low in nu­tri­ents. It will thrive in stony soil and re­quires lit­tle wa­ter­ing once it is es­tab­lished. Plant seeds in spring, prefer­ably in pun­nets to be trans­planted later. The plant will also grow read­ily from cut­tings taken in late spring. Gar­den thyme can be used as an at­trac­tive, drought-tol­er­ant ground cover. The plant should be sheared back af­ter flow­er­ing is com­plete to en­cour­age fu­ture bushy growth. Thyme is a favourite culi­nary herb and is one of the in­gre­di­ents in the tra­di­tional French bou­quet garni along with mar­jo­ram, pars­ley, and bay leaf. It im­parts ex­cel­lent flavour to all kinds of red meat dishes, soups, sauces and veg­etable dishes and is a favourite in­gre­di­ent in stuff­ings for poul­try. Thyme has also had many tra­di­tional medic­i­nal uses es­pe­cially in the treat­ment of coughs and colds and also as an an­ti­sep­tic ( it con­tains thy­mol). The herb was of­ten used to make skin ton­ics. Thyme oil is re­puted to re­pel head lice.

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