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Lemon Thyme

Thymes vary in aroma, but the majority can be used to flavor foods. Lemon thyme is one of the most widely used in the kitchen. Its leaves are used to flavor savory dishes, especially fish, stuffings for poultry, and vegetables. The dried leaves are added to potpourris and herb pillows.

If I had room for only one kind of thyme in my garden, I would choose Lemon Thyme. In our climate it seems to stay very healthy and productive, and I love the fresh bright citrus side to its scent and flavor.

For cooking, cut the tender sprigs of thyme and strip the leaves from the stems, chop up the tender stems and use with the leaves, or put longer, woody stems with leaves in a stew or soup, removing before serving. Lemon thyme also maintains its flavor for several months after being dried, though once established in your garden, you’ll always prefer the fresh form.

Lemon Thyme is hardy to 5 degrees F. and needs a very sunny location. It thrives on a well draining soil and balanced fertilizer. Thymes dislike winter wet and, like many Mediterranean herbs, benefit from a layer of gravel to protect the foliage from contact with wet soil. Established plants may be pruned quite hard in early spring or lightly after flowering. Plant where plenty of air circulation is available to keep the center of the plant dry and healthy.

I happened to plant Lemon Thyme virtually on top of a buried soaker hose a couple of years ago and it has absolutely flourished from the underground water source! And in my garden, the deer have never browsed upon it.

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