If you are a gardener, chances are you like to grow herbs, too. One of the most beautiful herbs I have ever grown is the ornamental oregano, Kent Beauty, Origanum rotundifolium. While most oregano varieties are grown for their culinary use, Kent Beauty and a few other ornamental oregano varieties are not, and in fact, have no taste at all. Ornamental oregano are best used for their beauty in gardens, borders, and especially containers.
In the photo above, I created a tiny hanging basket out of a vintage horse muzzle, lined with moss, and planted with a 4″ Kent Beauty plant. As the Kent Beauty grows, it spills gracefully over the sides of its re-purposed container. Its simplicity is enchanting.
Kent Beauty is a delightfully fragrant herb, attractive to bees, and has such a delicate “tossled” beauty about it. Its foliage is actually hard to describe. It has wiry stems that reach 4″ in height, with beautiful blue-green stemless rounded leaves.
Off of these stem ends, bloom textured bracts, similar to hop, in a delicate mauve pale pink color throughout the summer. These delightful mauve pink bracts can be cut in full bloom, hung, and dried upside down for use in crafts.
Kent Beauty is native to Turkey, Armenia, and Republic of Georgia and is a hydrid ornamental oregano of Origanum rotundifolium x Origanum scabrum. I have seen multiple preferred climate zones for this herb, so check with your plant source for details for your area first, before purchasing.
Prune Kent Beauty closely back, after its summer bloom. It does best in well-drained soil. It prefers to be in dry soil, between thorough waterings. It is best to protect it from excessive winter moisture. It is available in local nurseries, and a good website I found for ornamental oregano varieties and purchasing is http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/index.html.