Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis)
Summer savory is a half-hardy annual that self sows freely and has a strong, hot and slightly bitter flavor reminiscent of thyme. Plants grow to about 14 inches and have slender, erect stems with sparse bronze leaves and small, pale pink flowers. Native to the Mediterranean, it was much in demand in early Rome where it was thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac.
Sow seeds in spring, thinning to every six inches. Plants need a sunny location and look good in rock gardens.
Use summer savory to flavor beans, peas, pork, game and sausages. Finely chopped leaves can be added to soups and stews near the end of their cooking time. The herb makes a flavorful oil or vinegar. Medicinally, it is used as a tonic and digestive. Dried foliage and flowers are used in arrangements.
Summer savory is used as a companion plant for beans because it helps deter bean beetles.