What’s in a name?

Some of you may know that I have been helping the gardeners here at Loseley Park to label the plants in their wonderful walled garden.  Starting with the rose garden I had a fascinating trip through rose history while researching names, rose type and year of introduction.  The shrubs are now identified with a durable Brother label which should help visitors identify the magnificent specimens of roses through the centuries.

Moving down the garden, the Herb garden is next, starting with the Medicinal herbs followed by the Decorative section.  I always check the plant name using the RHS Plant Finder; it gives a consistent source of naming and I can copy and paste the names into the labelling machine, which helps to eradicate typos.

On the list was Thymus x citriodorus ‘Lemon Queen’ and the Plant Finder drew a blank on this one.  However, the International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) for Thyme is National Plant Collection Holder, Margaret Easter, so a quick call to her soon sorted out the name.

The citriodorus part of the name is misapplied, an error that crept in many decades ago and has been perpetuated.  There were three possible candidates for the name and Margaret gave me clear pointers to look for in order to identify the plant.
‘Golden King’, variegated.
‘Golden Queen’, variegated but with some green parts.
‘Golden Lemon’,  strongly lemon scented

Thymus 'Golden Queen'

Peter, one of the gardeners, helped me to find the plant in question and between us decided that it was the mostly variegated ‘Golden Queen’.  Now I will move on to the Household and Culinary sections of the herb garden and no doubt learn some more about herbs while doing so.

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