Useful information

Thyme, thyme, incense

At one of the Vladimir markets some time ago, an Uzbek was quite famous who sold spices. Smell-sensitive people were already fascinated by the very bouquet of aromas that surrounded the neighborhood of his counter. He turned the preparation of his potions into a kind of show, which attracted many spectators. Fascinated by him and his potions, regular customers stubbornly sought him out, even after periodically moving to new places. The trick was that he prepared the seasonings right in front of the client, picking up their components with a spoon from more than fifty bags that stood on the table. The customer was only required to name the dish, the taste of which needed to be improved.

 

Eastern spice from your garden

Thyme ordinary

Once I was one of his clients. I wanted the oatmeal that I ate in the morning, in addition to its usefulness, to taste good. My quirk, who had seen a lot of the maestro, was not at all surprised. His hand quickly flashed through the bags of ingredients, which he mixed at least 5-6. I remembered the bag to which his hand reached at the beginning, and asked what the name of this plant was. After long leading questions and "sniffing" it turned out that there was thyme, which in Central Asia they like to add to pilaf and meat dishes. I don't know what else was there, but my oatmeal just tasted obscenely delicious. It even seemed that it was not naked rolled oats steamed with boiling water, but an exquisite multicomponent dish with meat and vegetables. How could one fail to recall our spoiled cat Vaska, whom my mother deceived by rubbing a hump of a piece of sausage, after which he eagerly and greedily pounced on ordinary black bread. After some time, the Uzbek disappeared from the market somewhere, but his "fans" continued unsuccessfully looking for him for a long time.

For a long time, thyme has been used as a spice by Europeans and the peoples of the Caucasus. He is no less popular now. Its leaves have a strong and pungent spicy taste and are used as a seasoning both separately and as part of various mixtures. Thyme gives dishes a pleasant taste, improves digestion. It is especially good with meat and fish dishes. Nutritionists recommend adding it to all fatty foods. Thyme can improve the taste of almost any product: potatoes, meat of wild animals and poultry, fish, legumes (peas, beans, beans) and corn, cheese and smoked meats. Thyme is popularly used for salting cucumbers and mushrooms. Milk mushrooms and mushrooms are especially good with thyme.

Interestingly, despite the wide variety of thyme aromas and tastes, all types and varieties have spicy qualities. Having tried several of them, you will always find the one that suits your favorite dish. Note that thyme is especially revered by lovers of herbal teas, being their indispensable aromatic component. Its presence as a flavoring agent is desirable in many medicinal preparations. For example:

Pike with thyme

Vitamin tea with thyme

For a consultation with a botanist

Genus thyme(Thymus) even for botanists, it is difficult to determine, which is why they do not have a consensus about how many species it includes - certainly more than 300, or maybe all 400. All of them are evergreen subshrubs of the family of the lamellar (or labiate), growing in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere ... The northernmost species of thyme has already been recorded in Greenland. And in the south, plants of this genus penetrate to North Africa. A lot of thyme grows in Russia, mainly in the steppes and mountains of the south of the European part and Siberia.

Common features of all thymes are thin, woody underneath stems, miniature oval, ovate or lanceolate leaves with a strong aroma, located oppositely on the shoots. Small, double-lipped, violet-red flowers, collected at the ends of the ascending branches in intermittent capitate inflorescences.Thyme blooms almost all summer. They are very attractive to insects, they are excellent honey plants, which, by the way, was noted by the ancient Greeks, who revered thyme as the personification of hard work.

 

Creeping thyme, or creeping thyme (Thymusserpyllum) wildly distributed throughout the European part of Russia, from the Caucasus to the forest zone. Some experts consider it to be a prefabricated species, since the plant is extremely multifaceted in both external data and smells. It grows in open sandy places, in dry pine forests, especially in the forest-steppe and steppe zones. People call this thyme thyme or Bogorodskaya grass, because of the ancient custom on the day of the Assumption of the Virgin to decorate her icons with fragrant grass. In the southern provinces of Russia, the floors and walls of the dwelling were additionally rubbed with thyme to give a pleasant aroma.

Creeping thyme

This species has a height of up to 10-15 cm, forms low dense carpet thickets, frost-hardy. It has many decorative forms and varieties. Blooms from mid-June to late August. Unpretentious, drought-resistant. In folk medicine, it is used for poor digestion, bloating, as a diuretic, as well as for coughs, chest pains, insomnia. Outwardly, the herb is used for aromatic baths for diseases associated with metabolic disorders. It grows well, can be used as a substitute for a lawn in dry places. It strengthens slopes and slopes well. Good in all kinds of rocky gardens.

 

Thyme ordinary (Thymusvulgaris) comes from southern Europe. Reaches a height of 40 cm. It blooms from June to early August with pale lilac flowers. Less winter-hardy than creeping thyme, in snowless, harsh winters it is damaged by frost. Has popular decorative varieties with variegated leaves. The Aypea variety is very popular and widespread. golden, yellowish, small, up to 1 cm long, elliptical leaves. It grows rapidly, forms dense cushion thickets about 10-15 cm high.

 

Thyme ordinary

Lemon-scented thyme (Thymusxcitriodorus) Is a natural hybrid species known in the south of France for over 400 years. It has several varieties popular throughout Europe. A distinctive feature of some of them is a citrus smell emanating from small, rounded leaves.

Variety Donna Valley (Doone Valley ") best known. Its leaves are ovoid, emerald green, with shapeless bright yellow spots. When rubbed, they give off a strong lemon scent. Forms dense variegated pillows about 5-7 cm high.

Variety Silver Queen very popular in our gardens for its unusual color of leaves. They are elliptical, about 5 mm long, light green, additionally decorated with a narrow white border. Relatively high (about 20 cm), grows slowly. Despite belonging to the designated species, the lemon scent is practically not visible in it, and the typical thyme aroma dominates. Note that this variety is relatively thermophilic. I have it growing for ten years, and in different parts of the garden, in different soil conditions. But then, "in one beautiful winter," he fell out together.

Lemongrass Thyme Silver Queen

Ornamental varieties of thyme are numerous, are entirely of hybrid origin, and are difficult to identify. For their presentation, a descriptive approach is most acceptable, which I have resorted to for two unnamed forms from our collection.

The form "Mossy" - Possibly the smallest variety, the height of its cover is only about 1 cm. The leaves are dark green, very small, up to 3 mm long, elliptical, with a spicy aroma. The shoots of the plant are densely branching and intertwining, forming a dense cover, closely pressed to the ground, similar to moss. Such a coating is especially interesting on slightly hilly surfaces, because, repeating their relief, it creates an unusually landscape picture. Does not bloom, grows well. Very interesting in Japanese-style compositions, as a moss imitator.

Mossy thyme

The form "Abundantly flowering" forms carpets up to 3 cm high. Leaves are lanceolate, with a typical aroma of thyme. It blooms with pinkish-lilac flowers from late June to September. Peduncles do not stick out, but spread without towering over the carpet. In some periods, the flowers can completely cover the foliage. Grows quickly, interesting for turfing large areas.

Biography Pages

Figuratively speaking, the best years of thyme are in the past, since the current addiction of the majority of the so-called civilized peoples to synthetic aromas and medicines has practically supplanted it from everyday life. But hundreds and thousands of years ago, his fame was truly nationwide. In ancient Greece and Rome, thyme was considered a symbol of strength and courage. Greek word thymos in one of the variants it is translated as spirit, breath of life. Even in ancient times, people discovered that burning thyme herb produces an extremely fragrant smoke. So thyme in one of the Greek transcriptions turned into incense. To light incense, throwing thyme branches into the sacrificial fire, has been customary among most European peoples since the days of paganism. Fragrant smoke, ascending to the abode of the gods - the sky, was considered a necessary attribute of divine services, and the thyme itself was the most important cult plant.

With the advent of Christianity, thyme only strengthened its position. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that thyme instills stamina and courage in people, therefore the image of its twigs, especially surrounded by bees, was a typical decoration of knightly scarves. With the advent of monasteries, thyme has become one of the most popular cultures in monastery gardens. To raise their spirits, the crusaders sewed thyme into the amulet worn around their necks before their campaigns. In Russia, it was dedicated to the cult of the Mother of God and was often planted around churches named after her.

The use of thyme in medicine has the same ancient history. The Greeks and Romans believed that thyme was able to restore not only lost health, but life itself. Thyme was used in a wide variety of ways: in the form of a snuff for fainting, in the form of infusions for colds, asthma, female diseases, stones in the gallbladder.

Thyme in the home medicine cabinet

After catching a cold, I often buy Pertussin cough syrup. At the same time, I always remember a funny story with twin girls, the daughters of our friend. Once they got sick, and the pediatrician prescribed Pertussin for them. They liked the sugary-sweet syrup so much that after some time, when their mother wanted to buy them ice cream as a reward, they unanimously concluded that they didn't need ice cream, but rather buy Pertussin. The funny thing is that, even as they matured, they didn’t get rid of the habit of buying syrup, which is based on thyme. By the way, for those who are not familiar with thyme in nature, "Pertussin" can become an example (more precisely, a variant) of its taste and smell.

Common and creeping thyme are included in the pharmacopoeias of many countries, including Russia. Its preparations are used, for example, as an antiseptic for the oral cavity. Thyme essential oil constituent - thymol (an odorous grease that instantly makes your mouth bitter) is familiar to anyone who has ever sat down in a dentist's chair. In folk medicine, thyme herb is used for diseases of the upper respiratory tract and bronchitis, gastritis, colitis, intestinal spasms and flatulence. A pillow stuffed with thyme and placed under your head is considered a good remedy for insomnia. Thyme herb together with chamomile, lavender, calamus and mint is used for aromatic baths for neuroses and insomnia.

 

Procurement and storage of raw materials... Thyme herb for medicinal and food needs is harvested at the beginning or in the midst of flowering. Cut shoots are laid out for drying under awnings or in attics. After drying, they are threshed and only leaves with flowers are left.

Although the regulations allow you to store raw thyme for up to 3 years, I advise you to renew your stocks annually. However, for aromatic baths, thyme herb can be used even longer than this period.

Lemongrass Thyme Aureus

 

Resurrect childhood

I don't know if there is thyme in Japan. But for me personally, his "mossy" low rugs are associated with a Japanese garden. I would like to have some laconic composition, the foot of which would be entirely devoted to thyme. For example, an extensive thyme carpet and a group of Konica Christmas trees in the middle.

I suspect that the so-called baby imprint is to blame for my inexplicable sympathy for this plant. The fact is that at the age of two or four, when any of us are literally closer to the earth, I snorted thyme in full. The scent of thyme is firmly entrenched in my subconscious, like the smell of habitat. But when we moved from Kazakhstan to Vladimir, it turned out that this plant is not here at all. In fact, without a constant reminder, I began to forget him. Only occasionally did he ask the elder sister if she remembered the grass that lay low over the burnt slopes and smelled unusually pleasant. But my sister is six years older than me, and she could do nothing to ease my "longing for childhood."

And then one day, already about thirty years old, I bought a bush for the garden, as it seemed, an unfamiliar plant to me - thyme. As soon as the package was opened, a surprisingly familiar subtle motif touched my nose. Having scoured the contents of the parcel, I extracted the source of the flavor. There was a Thyme tag on it. It is simply impossible for an outsider to explain the emotions that this seemingly ordinary event caused in me. Meanwhile, at that moment, pictures appeared in my brain, comparable in brightness to hallucinations. True, they were drawn exclusively by the imagination. I am sure that these were pictures accompanying my previous meetings with thyme. Emotional excitement literally took possession of me. And I can't find the words to accurately identify those emotions. Sadness and joy, loss and gain, hope and hopelessness - all together.

 

How to please thyme

 

Thymes are sun-loving, drought-resistant, undemanding to soil fertility. There are many different forms and varieties that reliably winter not only in the middle lane, but also in the North.

At the same time, plants develop better on open slopes of the southern and western exposure, protected from cold winds. The soil substrate should be light in composition and well-drained. Thymes absolutely do not tolerate stagnant moisture, and even more so swampy lowlands and depressions. Despite their drought tolerance, thyme, especially varietal, prefer moderately moist soils.

 

Soil preparation and planting. The root system of thyme is mostly shallow, which allows them to grow well even on shallowly cultivated soils. In this case, the best conditions are created on highly humus sandy loams and light loams of a neutral or slightly alkaline reaction. If the soil mixture is specially compiled, then, as an option, you can mix turf soil, loose humus and sand in a ratio of 1: 2: 3, limiting yourself to a layer of 10 cm.It is better to replant plants with bare roots in early spring, autumn or summer when rainy weather sets in. ... To quickly create a continuous carpet, it is important that the plants quickly take over the area without giving a chance to weeds. This is achieved by a fairly tight fit - 16-26 divs per square meter.

 

Care. Thyme can only be watered for the first time after planting, further watering is shown in dry periods lasting more than a half month. From time to time it is useful to fertilize closed pillows and thyme lawns, sprinkling them on top with ventilated peat, loose humus or compost (0.5-1 kg per square meter). Occasionally, in a runaway with organic matter, a universal mineral mixture is used (15-20 g per sq. M). When thinning or exposing individual areas, new plants are planted in the bald spots.

 

Lemongrass Thyme Aureus

 

Thyme gardens in different ways

 

Thyme is an almost perfect groundcover with all its virtues. It forms dense, weed-proof, evergreen rugs and pillows. Thyme coatings are decorative all year round, but especially during long, up to 3 months, flowering, in some varieties it is very abundant. Thyme has a large number of varieties of various decorative qualities, allowing it to be used in a wide variety of compositions. Thymes are organically combined with most shrubs and perennials, being a natural background for them.

Thyme borders of various widths along the paths are very attractive. Thyme cushions and ribbons are good for the foregrounds of mixborders. Thymes can be used to girdle flower beds and carpet flower beds in urban landscaping. Thymes are in perfect harmony with stones and are desirable in any kind of rocky garden: flat rockery, rocky slope, alpine slide, Japanese garden. Large lawns and vast flat gardens with various varieties of thyme and other ground cover plants look extraordinary landscape.

Photo by the author

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