The return of Italian oregano

Written by Doug Oster on .

One of the best things about being a garden writer is meeting all the great gardeners and exchanging information and occasionally plants. Last May at the annual Backyard Gardener's Plant Swap in North Park, a man who read my stories about a trip to Italy brought me this. He called it Italian oregano and in broken English explained that the plant grows wild along roadsides in its home country. 

It's an annual in our climate, but re-seeds readily as I found out. I used it all last summer in countless dishes, it has a strong oregano flavor, but I don't think it's technically oregano, who knows, it tastes great. I figured it was gone forever after frost, but this month I noticed it popping up near a patch of basil.

I wasn't sure what it was, but knew it was something I should keep. When it started to flower I looked at it closer, pinching the tiny leaves releasing its aromatic fragrance. Now that it's been resurrected, I must save the seeds for season to come.

In an upcoming post, I'll detail how to save seeds from a plant like this and others.

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