Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Twenty Days In And Celebrating the 2015 Herb of the Year, Savory, All of Them!

The First Book I Read About Savory 20 Days Ago!
Oh, maybe not ALL of them in this one post!  Well, I really have been reading most days about savory since January 1.  I just haven't been talking about it with you.  So here goes.  The first book that I pulled out of one of my book cases was Exotic Herbs by Carole Saville.  As most of you know, I am an herb plant collector and love the different and exotic herbs, just not the ordinary ones.  So I just thought I would do the same idea that I had for my favorite, lemon verbena that is to pick out a book look in the index and read the pages about savory.

Of course, with this first book, Carole Saville doesn't really talk about the two savorys you are thinking about, summer or winter.  Her focus is about Pink Savory (Satureja thymbra).  It is definitely a tender perennial (Zones 8-9) for us in the northern part of the U.S.  It is native to Sardinia, Greece, Crete and the eastern Mediterranean.

It grows to about one foot tall.  It is very flavorful despite its size and its flavor is hotter than summer savory with oregano accents.  It grows on dry, stony hillsides in its native countries.  Ms. Saville says "Pink savory was known to the seventeenth century herbalists, Gerard and Parkinson, who called it Wild Time of Candy.  "Time" being thyme and "candy" the then name for the island of Crete."  Other common names are goat thyme and Roman, Greek and European hyssop.

It is found in herb nursery catalogs as pink savory or barrel sweetener, because in Crete a strong infusion of savory was used to cleanse and refresh wine barrels in the fall in preparation for a new wine.

Growing pink savory is the tricky bit coming from clay, wet soils.  Pink savory likes it dry, average to alkaline soil, full sun and excellent drainage.  I see a rock garden in my future.  But even having said that pink savory for me would have to be in a pot at the very least or dug up in the fall to be taken inside.  Cut back tip growth to keep a neat appearance.  Pink savory is perfect for a bed of Mediterranean herbs such as thymes and oreganos and sages.  Hope you will consider growing some pink savory in your herb garden this year.  I can see that my savory mail order from Well Sweep Herb Farm has increased by one!

I really realized with this herb of the year that I have not provided too much information and some of it is incorrect.  Oops!  Already corrected what was incorrect.  Winter savory is not even on my list of perennial herbs!   Have grown it over the years, but have learned that summer savory does self seed sometimes and winter savory is only good as long as the winter is not too cold and we had a terrible one last year.  The bottom line is that my photo catalog of savory is minimal!  So I may be taking a lot of book covers until the growing season gets started again.

BTW, your local nursery may not have pink savory or summer or winter for that matter.  Here are some of my favorite herb nurseries that still do mail order.  Well Sweep Herb Farm in New Jersey (link above), Sandy Mush Herb Nursery in North Carolina (First $100 I spent was on herbs from Sandy Mush.), Richters Herbs in Ontario, Canada (Yes, you can get plants back with the right paperwork from Canada.).  Two of my favorite places to buy herbs in Ohio are Mulberry Creek Herb Farm in Huron, Ohio and Beech Creek Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve in Alliance, Ohio.  All of the above-mentioned nurseries are passionate about herbs.  So please check them out.  Locally in the Pittsburgh area check out McTighe's Garden Center on Route 8, North Hills that sell a lot of unusual herbs from Sal Gilberte in Connecticut and Trax Farm in the South Hills among others in the area.  Please share your favorite place to buy herbs.

Took me awhile to put this together.  So getting back into an herbal rhythm may be difficult, but just nudge me if you don't hear from me for a while.  We had a touch of wet snow but it's January!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later. 


Carol said...

I was really surprised not to lose my Winter Savory last winter... lost lots of Lavender but the Savory did ok.

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Yes, as I was thinking about what photo to use, I discovered that I don't grow savory of any kind too often! I will be learning a lot, Carol! xo

taylorsoutback said...

It has been awhile since I grew savory - the last time it was in the garden, my dear husband was wandering around and "helping" to pull a few weeds - he yanked out my savory when I wasn't looking - his comment? That weed has an unusual smell....

Will try again this summer - those gardening catalogs are piling up in the basket - along with the snow outside.

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Sometimes I'm the one that thinks it's a weed! I can empathize with Mr. Outback! It was so funny when I started reading about savory, TO. I was looking for photos from the herb garden of savory and I don't have many! So it will be a big learning experience for me! We don't have much snow and really I wish we had some more to cover the herbs! Take care, TO! Thanks for stopping by! xo

Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh said...

Love the post. I am on the committee for our plant sale in Villa Park, IL and we will have both Summer and Winter savory to celebrate (and because no one else carries it!) Have fun glad the snow "missed you!"

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Thanks, Marcy! Savory is an important culinary herb and we have to have it in our herb gardens! We are having a freezing rain episode now! I think I would rather have snow! Thanks for stopping by, Marcy! xo