It’s not too late to add a few new herbs to your garden, especially if you live in the northern regions. A cooler, wet spring has challenged (read FRUSTRATED) many gardeners. BUT, if you’ve been busy and haven’t had a chance to get growing yet, the rainy weather may be your garden blessing. Now’s the time to join the fun and add variety to your garden.
5 Flowering Oregano Varieties
Most herb gardeners are familiar with the traditional Greek and Italian oregano. We love them for the rich, savory kick they add to tomato sauces. But with over 40 oregano species and a truckload of varieties, it’s time to explore this wonderful herb.
This year I’m trying five ornamental oregano varieties that will flower in beautiful shades of purple and pink, trail in my containers, and attract bees/butterflies to my garden. The herbs arrived several weeks ago, but I’ve been waiting, waiting and WAITING for the weather to warm up in order to plant them. Finally….it’s time.
A special thank you goes to Fiskars for supplying me with incredible tools this season. The Garden Multi-Snips made unpacking my herbs a breeze. I sliced the plastic and trimmed the faded leaves with the same tool. No extra fuss.
In addition to the herb varieties and tools, I’m also trying out this 5 Level Plant Pyramid. The planter was a gift from my Swedish-Dutch husband….who is more than mystified by my garden adventures, but always supportive. This planter is crazy cool. Simple, but innovative. It’s basically stacked triangles placed on top of mounded soil. The premise is to allow the roots of containerized plants to grow more deeply. The shelves are supportive, but bottomless. The roots are able to grow downward without obstruction.
The planter was a breeze to put together, but a little fussy to plant. As you can probably tell, the plants go in at an angle. It took me a few times to adjust to the new technique, but it really wasn’t hard. Just different. However, once planted, the herbs seem to love it. I like that it drains so well. We’ve had so much rain followed by high heat that required me to water. Too much water is often worse than too little water for herbs. But, rain or hand watered, this container drains very well. It’s also a sturdy, contemporary design. I’ll continue to update you on how it works as the season progresses.
Back to the herbs….
Turkish oregano can be used for both ornamental and culinary purposes. It’s a perennial in zones 5-9, reaches a height of 18-24″, fragrant, and will produce delicate pink to white flowers. It is great in both meat dishes and Italian red sauces. It will attract both bees and butterflies to your garden. Prefers full sun to partial shade.
Kent Beauty is a tender perennial in zones 7-10, an annual in the remaining zones. It’s smaller, reaching a height of only 6 inches. It is fragrant, but typically not used for culinary purposes. The little plants is ideal in containers or the front of the border where its pink-to-lilac flowers will attract attention. Prefers full sun to partial shade.
Hopley’s oregano is already growing profusely in my garden. Soon it will be sporting dark lavender flowers which will attract both bees and butterflies. This oregano variety can also be used to season bread, pasta, stuffing and pizza. It’s a hard working plant that performs well in containers and in the garden. It will reach a height of 18-24″ and is considered a perennial in zones 5-9. It prefers full sun, but can handle part-shade.
Dittany of Crete
Dittany of Crete is a textural variety of oregano. Its leaves are grey/green, soft and a bit fuzzy. This oregano prefers partial shade. It’s smaller, 6-8 inches, and produces pale rose-pink flowers. The bees and butterflies love it. It’s great in containers. It can also be used as a perennial ground cover, if you live in zones 7-11. The flowers can be dried for arrangements. It’s a fragrant oregano, but not used for culinary purposes.
Jim’s Best is just like its name….a best oregano for many reasons. The golden-green marbled leaves are attractive in both the garden and containers. It’s a low growing trailer that adds pizzazz wherever it’s placed. Bees and butterflies love the pretty pink flowers. This oregano prefers full sun, but can handle part shade. You can use it in the kitchen as well. Cooks will often season bread, pasta, stuffing and pizza with Jim’s Best.
If you’re interested in growing these varieties, check your local herb specialty store or garden center. You can also search on-line.
Have a great growing week. Here’s hoping we finally have more sunshine than rain!