Herb Thyme. Flavours of oranges and thyme are complimentary and classic.
Thyme is a Mediterranean herb. The ancient Greeks thought it endowed courage. The Romans spread the herb throughout their empire. In the kitchen, garden thyme adds subtle depth to classic, savory dishes. It has a pleasant, woodsy flavor that enhances gravies, meats, soups, vegetables, and so it is a favorite of chefs throughout the world.
Thyme can be grown from seed, cuttings can be rooted, or plants can be divided. In Edmonton, common garden thyme and lemon thyme survive the winter. There are numerous beautiful varieties of thyme - check out a local greenhouse or view the Richter's website.
To grow thyme from seed, get an early start. In February, lightly press the tiny thyme seeds in little pots of loose, light, moist soil. For high germination, put the pots in a warm spot. Spritz the soil with tepid water gently and regularly. Once the sprouts appear, thin carefully by cutting or gently plucking. Put the seedlings in a sunny spot - or better yet, under lights. Run a rotating fan across them for 10 minutes a day. This reduces the spindly stems and toughens them up.
I think that most herbs taste better when they have been buffeted about by the winds outside and fed nutrients directly from the good earth. After about 8 weeks, when there is no danger of frost, the thyme plants are ready to go outside. Thyme can grow in poor soil but thrives in light loam. In sun or part shade, it is hardy and can survive drought once the roots are established.
Unless the winter is brutally cold with fluctuating temperatures, thyme usually comes back each spring in Edmonton. The plants survive for 3 years.