The Thyme Garden Herb Company
~Growing All Natural Since 1990~
The Thyme Garden is a family owned farm hidden in the magical coast range mountains of Oregon.Our interest in herbs began at our country restaurant which we surrounded with herb gardens. Not only providing our kitchen with herbs and pleasure for our customers, our gardens produced seeds which we began to collect and sell. From these sprouted The Thyme Garden Seed Company. In 1989 we embarked on a new adventure when we sold our restaurant and purchased our 80 acre farm to expand our seed business and start a nursery. Our farm also gave us plenty of space to enjoy one of our favorite hobbies, collecting new and unusual varieties of herbs and displaying them for people to experience and enjoy. Visitors enjoy strolling through our beautiful display gardens which provide the opportunity to experience one of the largest collections of herbs in the Northwest. We are proud of our nursery's selection of herbs and useful plants for sale in our hand split cedar lathe house as well as in our greenhouses, which are also open for visitors to enjoy.
Our largest greenhouse contains a small conservatory with its own little stream and a huge plant in the center called Angel's Trumpet, which may have over 200 ten inch long trumpet shaped flowers at one time! The fragrance from this plant as well as all the other aromatic plants we have collected in this room can be intoxicating. We sometimes call this room the aromatherapy experience.This garden also contains several specimens of Brugmansia, Lemon Verbena, Kaffir Lime, a Dwarf Cavendish Banana, a large collection of scented Geraniums and a Yerba Mate tree just to name a few of its inhabitants. We are in the process adding an exciting new layer of interesting plants to this garden. It will add more wonderful fragrances to the experience as well as some things tasty. We are trying our hand at growing Bananas, Kiefer Limes, Meyer Lemons, Pomegrantes, Papayas, Avocados and Oranges. For the convienence of our customers who have specific interests in different groups of herbs we have our extensive display gardens separated into collections of different herbs as to their uses. These working gardens of all naturally grown herbs are also the very herbs we harvest our seeds from and get cuttings to propagate new plants for our nursery.
The center of the main garden is our 'Moon Garden', a collection of silver and grey plants that reflect moon light as a white glow. A raised stone bed with giant Cardoon plants make the center piece with curved stone bordered beds circling it filled with Artemesia, Silver Clary Sage, Snow in Summer, Curry plants and many more silver-grey plants. The Moon Garden is at it's best at night especially under the bright light of the moon. It is amazing how white the center circle of the garden looks while the rest is dark and shadowy. In order to share this experience along with all the wonderful night fragrances the garden is awash in, we came up with our 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Everything' evening dinner experience. We start the night with appetizers and live music followed by a feast of wild caught Chinook Salmon slowly smoked around an alder fire accompanied with all sorts of herbal side dishes and a choice of a homemade dessert to finish it off. By then darkness has settled in, the campfire has been lit and we go on our night walk through our forest. And the magic begins! Surrounding the Moon Garden are four separate gardens with their stone circles and radiating raised beds. One of them, the Medicinal Garden has a collection of herbs used as medicines for centuries. Some have even been found in Egyptian tombs. The center ring is filled with Elecampane or 'Horse-heal' an anti-fungal herb used by the Romans in medicine and as a condiment. Many of these medicinal herbs are still used today in common drugs for instance aspirin which originated from the Meadowsweet plant. There are also herbs used in Ayervedic Medicine and Chinese Medicinals. Next to the Medicinal Garden is a garden we call the Commercial Garden for lack of a better name at this time. It is a collection of all sorts of herbs used for products we use in our everyday life that come from plants such as the Cotton plant our cloths are made of and Fiber Flax that produces linen. Interspersed through the garden are natural dyes, insect repellents, insecticides and even the herb that produced the ink our Founding Fathers signed The Declaration of Independence with!
The next garden in rotation is the Edible Flower Garden a bouquet of color to liven up the dishes we prepare for our luncheons, weddings and special events. This one of our favorite and most used gardens. Every morning before a luncheon begins you will find me out there collecting flowers to use on our herb flower salad and garnishes or Bethany with a basket selecting flowers to be used in her intricate flower artwork on our herbal spreads and butters. Even though we use them all, the most commonly used flowers are Nasturtium, Bachelor's Button, Edible Marigolds, Borage and Sweet Rocket. The edible flowers are exciting to use in preparing food. Some have distinctive and aromatic flavors, like Fennel flowers for example that taste exactly like licorice. Then some have no flavor at all but add beautiful spectrum of colors to the culinary experience.
The Circle of Thyme is a color wheel of flower color, leaf texture, color, height and fragrance. The Thyme Garden can have up to sixty or more varieties of Thyme in it, some we developed ourselves. One of these we call Snow White Thyme. It produces a very low mat of light green foliage and a profusion of large, pure white flowers on short stems. Another is Tropicana Thyme, an upright thyme with a fragrance something like peaches or nectarines. Of course an herb garden wouldn't be complete without a Culinary Garden. This garden frames our Sunken Shade Garden with its raised beds fanning out like rays around the rim of it. All the foods we prepare here have an herb or two in them so it's beautiful to have all the fresh herbs we want anytime the need comes along. It's hard to pick a favorite but the aroma of Tarragon, Thyme, Sage, Oregano or Basil will often greet you when you get anywhere near the kitchen.
Then there is the Sunken Shade Garden, a nine to ten foot pit that used to be a previous owners land fill. Standing on the edge of the sunken garden and looking down at the native ferns and its little stream starting from a water falls and meandering through before it falls into Crooked Creek that borders our gardens you get a feeling you are looking a hidden paradise. Space and dimensions get kind of scrambled. Scattered through the Sword Tail Ferns are shade loving medicinal herbs like Cohosh and Mayapple, a large collection of Hostas and unusual plant such as Black Mondo Grass. Sometime along the way we created the Butterfly Garden. This originated with our fascination with butterflies, especially Monarch Butterflies. Monarchs are in need of our help for their survival. Milkweeds are the sole source of food for the Monarch caterpillar and they are quickly disappearing with the increased use of herbicides. Munching on their leaves makes them taste nasty to birds giving them a better chance to reach the butterfly stage of their life cycle. Depending on where you live there is a chance there's a species of Milkweed growing near you. Our native specie Showy Milkweed is incredibly beautiful and fragrant and is the star of our Butterfly Garden. Other plants that provide nectar for butterflies, in our case lots of Tiger Swallow Tails, are Jupiter's Beard, Echinacea and Fennel.
An excellent way to experience the natural beauty of The Thyme Garden is to join one of our Tours and Herbal Luncheons. Guests start the day out with a guided tour of the separate gardens and a walk through the forest along one of our mountain streams and discussion of our salmon recovery projects, then sit down to a four course luncheon where everything includes herbs from salad to dessert. Another portion of our eclectic business is hosting weddings. We feel fortunate to able to share the beginning of a beautiful adventure with the new couple and their family. Weddings at The Thyme garden are truly a celebration. There is plenty of time to visit and catch up with family over the three days the wedding party have for their event including over night camping the night of the wedding. Ten thousand lights in the trees and over the dance floor set the stage for a magical night of dancing, a feast of herbal foods and camaraderie around the campfire until nights end.
There are many trails wandering through our 80 acres of enchanted paradise, truly a Pacific Northwest Rain Forest. Tall firs, beautiful waist-high swordtail ferns and huge old growth Broad-Leaf Maples, some 500 years old that dwarf the visitor. The peaceful sound of water is ever present and hypnotizing with two year round streams to walk along and enjoy nature. Hidden among the towering alders is our tranquil reflecting pond home to hundreds of baby Coho Salmon, Cutthroat Trout and Rough Skinned Newts. Our streams and pond are each segments of our Salmon Recovery Projects. Janet and I are devoted environmentalists so we feel overwhelmingly fortunate to be able to participate in helping the recovery of the threatened Coho Salmon and increase the number of returning native Steelhead to our streams. In 2002 with the help of matching grants from various agencies we set about re-creating perfect spawning beds for Coho in a 1/2 mile long dried up stream bed a previous land owner had diverted the water out of 75 or more years ago. Over the years this had reduced the number of thriving salmon and steelhead to an average of two pairs of fish a year returning to spawn. In the last three years (2009-2011) we have had 35 or more salmon return in in a few hundred yard section of our new stream! This project caused us to create our Fall Salmon Celebration, a Thanksgiving-like feast that includes a walk-about to actually experience the beauty of the returning salmon and the fascinating beginning and end of an incredible life cycle. (See Events) This is a unique opportunity to see the changes the stream has made each year as it slowly evolves back to the beautiful productive stream it once was. The Thyme Garden continues to evolve every year with something new under construction, new varieties of herbs added to our collection or creating different avenues to take people down to re-introduce them to the incredible variety of wonders Nature has to offer. Many of the things we do here are directed toward teaching people the need to live in harmony with Nature. We try to set a good example by recycling as much as possible, growing with natural practices, using the least amount of energy as possible and just striving to making our 80 acres better when we leave than when we arrived.
Our plants and seeds are grown using sustainable practices, free of pesticides, herbicides and commercial fertilizers. We harvest our herbs and seeds by hand as they ripen to their fullest in an attempt to provide you with seeds that have the best possible chance to germinate. We also take this a step further and do our best to separate out the fertile seeds as we hand clean each variety. Our bees from our apiary are working constantly as they harvest our Herb Flower Honey from all our herb seed crops. This insures our flowers are well pollinated, producing a higher quality seed.
To show our appreciation of our customers we give them a free pack of seeds with every order, plus an additional free pack of regular priced seeds of your choice if your order is over $25.00. If for any reason you are unhappy with your purchase please let us know and we will be glad to replace the item or send a refund.
Our Nursery and Display Gardens are open mid-April to mid-August.
Please call ahead for hours.
Check out our Events for more reasons to visit.
Thanks for Visiting The Thyme Garden