17 November, 2010


".....................the wild thyme was in full bloom, like a thin purple-white haze rising from the sun-baked earth. The plant covered the hills with a dry but surprisingly woolly fleece that crunched underfoot, each step an explosion of aroma like a puff of powdered perfume........"

November is when our dry rocky ground turns shades of pink and mauve.  Even from many miles away whole hillsides take on the hue of thyme flowers.  And the scent is in the breeze.

I came across this scene about 10km from home.
Gathering Thyme Honey.  8th November 2010
If they say the honey is from from Thyme flowers.  I guess we can believe it.
This is a great link to a honey company.

Much closer to home, only 50 meters from our back door, the neighbours have a nice deck, where they invite us to sit and force us to drink wine.  A beautiful time in the evening.

The next two photos, taken from the deck, should be viewed side by side.  The thyme in the foreground is much more luxuriant than that just over the fence which you can see.  The rabbits trim it a bit out there.

The big dip, left to right, contains the mighty Kawarau river.  Over the river you can see the vineyards off Felton Road, famous for Pinot Noir wine.   
November 12th 2010.  Photo by Niall Watson.
November 12th 2010.  Photo by Niall Watson.
8th November 2010.  These plants about 400mm high.  Cromwell Gorge.
The Thyme was first noticed here in the 1860s and 1870s.  Gathered around the mining camps and colonising the disturbed ground.  There has been an explosion of it in the last 50 years which is attributed to the reduction of the rabbit plague.  There are now several thousand hectares over about 50 to 80 Kilometers.

It is also said that this is the only wild population of Thymus Vulgaris outside of it's natural range in Spain and the Mediterranean.  But I would be sceptical of that idea.

As I hunt to reduce the rabbit menace, each step sends a wonderful haze of aromatic scent.  If I need to lie down to steady the rifle then the scent remains in my clothes for days. No wonder it was used medicinally and features in so many recipes.   


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