I grew up in Central Otago, New Zealand where the rugged hills around Alexandra are covered in wild thyme. I remember as a child picking rosehips in the summer with my mother, and we would trample over the rocky slopes where the thyme grew and the aroma of the crushed herb would follow us as we walked. So the smell of thyme always takes me back there. When my mother died, one of her close friends, completely unaware of that childhood memory, sent me in the mail a little gift – a simple sprig of thyme mounted and framed, handwritten below was Thymus vulgaris and on the card a note saying “I thought your mother would like you to have this”. How extraoardinary. It hangs in my kitchen and makes me feel my mother is always close by. It is one of my most valued possessions. Years later, on another trip back to NZ, my wonderful cousin Marie booked a lovely surprise – an afternoon horse-riding through the hills overlooking Clyde. All along the way, the horses hooves crushed the herbs underfoot filling the air with that beautiful aroma. It was sublime – the smell of horses, the creak of the saddles, the spectacular view … and the thyme. That’s what could be called aroma therapy on an intense level! Thyme is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe from the western Mediterranean to southern Italy. If you don’t already have it, plant some today in your garden. Or give some in a pot to a friend or daughter, or sister or mother. It’s the loveliest thing to share. Thyme.