Thyme flowers are a favourite of honey bees.
How to grow
Thyme is an evergreen dwarf shrub and a huge range of varieties is available in garden centres. Buy in spring for planting in beds or containers.
How to care for thyme
Whether you’re growing the twiggy bush types or the carpeting mat forms, all like a warm sunny site in well-drained soil that’s low in nutrients. Add grit to the planting hole or container. Thyme thrives in chalky soils.
Trim plants after flowering to keep them neat and encourage new growth. Thymes are best treated as short-lived herbs that will need replacing every three years or so. Either buy new plants or take cuttings from new shoots in early spring or summer.
How to harvest
Snip off twiggy stems as you need them and strip off the leaves. Or hang in bunches to dry and then store in an airtight container.
The most popular culinary type is the Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris); try the variegated ‘Silver Posie’ or lemon thyme, T. citriodorus, which goes particularly well with fish.