Thyme is a great herb for creeping over the edges of pots and softening gravel pathways. The thin branches love to travel, and in late spring the flowers form an incredible carpet which the bees love.
The Romans used thyme as a cure for melancholia; the Elizabethans used it for headaches, whooping coughs, and lethargy. In herbal medicine today, thyme is favoured for its antimicrobial properties (which come from its main constituent Thymol) and it's used to cure a range of ailments.
It's especially effective at the first hint of a cold: I like to make a honey and lemon thyme tea if I ever feel a cold coming on, and it certainly helps to kick it back. When you're feeling healthy, you can also use fruity-scented thymes (lemon, rose or orange) to make a thyme syrup. These work wonderfully as a special cocktail ingredient or drizzled on desserts.
To make the syrup:
Mix 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add a small bunch of fresh thyme and steep for 20 mins then remove the stalks. Store in the fridge, it should keep for up to a month.
Thyme is easy to grow as long as it is placed in a super sunny position. It also doesn't like things too wet, so be careful it doesn't get waterlogged. Prune your plant back hard after flowering in the summer months, otherwise it can get leggy and twiggy.
You'll find a variety of Thymes, potted up and ready to go in our online shop.