Herb Focus: Rosemary and Thyme

How perfect can it be to have a barbeque at home and use rosemary named after it?

Rosemary ‘barbeque’ is a tough and very aromatic herb but there are so many others you can choose from. I would like to introduce you to some other varieties of rosemary and thyme that will widen your knowledge of unusual herbs.

Most of us like using herbs in our cooking, it enhances flavours and they can be a very good alternative to salt.  But there is so much more to them.  They are a versatile group of plants and you can grow them not only as part of your kitchen garden but also in a more ornamental way in any part of your garden.  They provide scent, beauty and are widely used in aromatherapy.

The recorded use of herbs goes back to the first century AD when the Greek physician Dioscorides wrote De Materia Medica describing 500 plants with healing properties originating in the Mediterranean basin.  From then onwards the use of herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes has been widespread. In England, John Gerard’s Herbal written in 1597 is a national treasure.

I really enjoy experimenting with herbs and discovering lesser-known varieties can be very entertaining.  This is why I wanted to introduce you to some interesting varieties of rosemary and thyme that you won’t find in your regular supermarket shopping basket.


•    In Elizabethan times couples carried it when getting married as a sign of fidelity

•    Its Latin name Rosmarinus means sea-dew

•    In Victorian times it was carried in the hollow handles of walking sticks as an antiseptic

•    It is good for pots and some varieties are perfect as a hedge

•    Avoid pruning into old wood

Rosemarinus ‘barbeque’ is quite a tough looking variety, its leaves are thicker than other and the rosemary plants and the stems can be used as skews on your barbeque. Barbeque has a savory rosemary scent with a hint of cologne. Keep it near your barbeque!


Rosemary BBQ

Rosemarinus ‘blue lagoon’ is a bushy arching variety with a fantastic profusion of blue flowers in Spring. It has a sweeter scent than ‘barbeque’ and finer leaves.  Highly ornamental and perfect as an informal hedge.


Rosemary Blue Lagoon

Rosemarinus ‘green ginger’ the finest of them all has a very subtle perfume with a spicy hint of ginger when you gently crush the leaves between your fingers. It holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit which means it is an outstanding performer in the garden.


Rosemary Green Ginger


•    The Greeks used it in their baths

•    It was used in the Middle Ages to purify against disease

•    It aids digestion and helps break down fatty foods

•    The non-flowering variety can be used as a non-grass alternative to lawns

•    The flowering varieties are fantastic magnets for bees and other pollinators

Thymus vulgaris ‘silver posie’ has very attractive foliage and a very strong scent. Its variegation makes it a good choice as an ornamental herb in your garden.  Perfect for your chicken roast too!

Thyme silver posie

Thymus pseudolanuginosus ‘woolly’ is such a lovely plant, perfect as a ground cover that will look like your ground is all covered in wool, of course! It has no scent so it’s not your typical culinary or medicinal thyme but I would rate it as highly ornamental with a creeping habit. Perfect for your rockery.


Thyme Woolly

Thymus ‘caraway’ has a very unusual spicy scent, it smells like caraway. It’s perfect for your stir fry and combines very well with beef.  ‘Caraway’ has very pretty rose-coloured flowers in summer that you should trim back immediately when they are over. Very good for attracting bees and other pollinators.


Thyme Carraway

I hope this has given you an opening to start exploring herbs in more detail, there is really a lot more to them than just a name.  Smelling each one of them is a bit like wine tasting, they each have their own character. 

Next time I will be showing you how to grow potatoes in tubs at home.  There is nothing like flavoursome home-grown potatoes that you can then cook with your gourmet choice of rosemary!


Your Potty Potter.

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