Lemon Thyme - Golden Variegated
Thymus x citriodorus 'Golden Queen'
In Golden Queen thyme you have the double whammy of a highly aromatic thyme combined with all the zest and zing of lemons making this a tremendous ingredient to have up your sleeve in the kitchen. No dish could remain dull or stodgy once a few of these treasured leaves were scattered over it. The plant itself grows into a mound about 30 cm tall with many, large (for a thyme) golden leaves that are variegated with green - or vice versa. This in itself is fairly spectacular all year round but in the summer you then get a splurge of pink flowers which takes it into the realms of extraordinary. Available for harvesting all year round, this thyme requires little maintenance. Thyme is a massive genus comprising many delicious and decorative varieties. We also stock Common Garden Thyme and Silver Queen thyme which gives you an indication of the many flavours and types of thyme out there.
A thyme enthroned
Although more ornamental than common thyme, its culinary effectiveness is no less and as such, it is a complement to garden thyme rather than an alternative. Thymes prefer poor soil and if grown in a good rich soil they, counterintuitively, lose all flavour, so treat this thyme mean in a stony, shallow top-soiled area but do keep it in the sun which encourages the aromatic oils to come to the surface of the leaf to give it a better flavour. It is a natural fit in any herb garden where it looks lovely with oreganos, chives and all the other usual herbs. Or you could think about creating a thyme lawn full of many types of thymes and creeping thymes with their swirling colours and mat forming leaves. Dot the occasional Dwarf Kaufmanniana tulip or some Crocus bulbs through it for spring colour and you have a stunning front garden that looks much better than plain old grass! Thymes grow well in pots but use a peat, grit and bark mix that is not too high in nutrients and keep watering to a minimum. Lemon thyme can be picked all year round, but if you wanted to dry it (which you can quite successfully) choose to pick it before it flowers. Add some stems to light olive oils or white wine vinegars to also capture its essential herbiness. Use lemon thyme with fish and in salad dressings, but it is also particularly good scattered over a light, creamy goats cheese with a little rapeseed oil drizzled over it.
- Height: 30 cm
- Spread: 20 cm
- Colour: variegated gold and green, larger than most thymes
- Flowers: pink
- Uses: culinary, medicinal
- Taste: lemon scented
- Harvest: all year
- Storage: can be dried
- Spacing: 20 cm
- Life: hardy perennial
From thyme immemorial
There are thymes from Greenland to Western Asia, with each area having subtly different varieties. We are not quite sure who bred the citrussy bit in - but it was an inspired gesture! Some of the first mentions of thyme were in Egyptian times when thyme oil was used in embalming: thyme for anti-aging anyone?