Oregano and Thyme are two of my favourite herbs of all time. For me they are basic, and a staple in the Greek diet. They are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immune boosting, and provide wonderful flavor to so many different types of foods. Plus, they are bee magnets.
In Greece thyme and oregano grow everywhere. Particularly in mountainous areas – which are the best places to gather them. However, there is one small environmental factor that many people forget about these herbs. Their flowers provide food and nourishment for the bees of Greece and anywhere else these herbs grow. The wonderful outcome of bees being fed and nourished by thyme and oregano in Greece is the creation of some of the best tasting honey you will ever eat in your lifetime!
I never leave a trip to Greece without at least one jar of thyme infused Greek honey. It’s the ingredient that makes many Greek desserts taste fabulous. Even on a slice of home-made bread, this honey does nothing but comfort and makes your taste buds tingle. You have to know that those bees also hang around oregano and other wild flowers as well, but the thyme essence is what tends to dominate in Greek honey. The honey bees of each region in Greece do tend to hang around specific plants, infusing their flavors as well, such as orange blossom, pine, and fig.
Although I don’t live in Greece, my roots pull me towards growing thyme and oregano in my Colorado garden. I can’t help but see how much the bees here are drawn to their flowers. In Greece these herbs grow wild, no one is watering them. Here in Colorado I rarely give mine water as well. They are sort of a brainless plant to grow, and do so much for the health of our bees.
Bee populations are declining worldwide due to habitat loss, diseases, and pesticides. If you can’t plant thyme or oregano, plant native wildflowers in your yard. Visit Bee-Friendlier.com to get more information on saving bees as well.
If you have a sunny corner in your garden, no matter where you live, consider growing oregano and thyme in the ground, and not in a pot. They will thrive and provide a spot for honey bees to land. These herbs will also grow back every year. There is a concern that we are losing plants that draw honey bees across North America, and this is an easy way to have a place for them to land.
Grow Oregano and thyme in your garden for your health, and the environment.
For more information on the health benefits of gardening, read my article: Gardening Improves Health and Happiness.
For a great article and podcast on the bees in the state of Colorado, check out NPR’s KRCC Pikes Peak link: https://www.krcc.org/post/honeybees-and-drought-whats-stake
Photo Credit: Constadina Zarokostas-Vasiliades