Sweet Marjoram - Origanum Marjorana
This is a shrubby tender perennial that grows to about 30cm tall with wiry, red-brown stems and downy grey-green aromatic leaves. It produces tiny white flowers on clustered spikes in summer. It was believed that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, created sweet marjoram as a gentle symbol of happiness.
Sow inside in March in trays or pots at 20C using a soil-less compost, covering with fine soil. Prick out when large enough to handle and harden off before planting out in May. Alternatively, sow outside in May, covering with a very, very fine dusting of soil and water well. Germination of the tiny seed tends to be erratic, and it prefers good, alkaline, well-drained, dry soil, in full sun. It hates wet winters and poor air circulation and likes a temperature of 22C during the day and 15C at night-time. Germination takes 7 to 10 days. Sweet marjoram is frost-tender, so bring it indoors if frost threatens.