SpadeRunner
Thyme 16/9

How much thyme do you have?

You can probably never have too much thyme. Part of the plan for my herb garden was to have a section of low growing and fragrant herbs like thyme under the clothes hoist. With our second Spring finishing after sowing thyme the first Winter, it’s almost what I envisaged and filling in nicely.

Thyme varieties

thyme culinary

Culinary thyme, with its grey, upright foliage

There are a few aromas and growth forms of thyme to choose from. The standard culinary herb is indispensable in the kitchen garden with its classic flavour.  A somewhat upright plant, with straggly grey leaved stems, it makes a distinctive foliage contrast in the herb garden, looking good against the dark greens of parsley and rosemary.

thyme lawn

The thyme lawn is coming into shape under the clothes line, with a little intrusion from mint and basil.

The other varieties all have their functions too. Wild thyme has a coarser flavour but a great aroma and comes into its own as a ground cover. I sowed wild thyme seeds direct in the patch in Winter, then let the seedlings do their own thing. Each seedling has different leaf colours and forms, although they all are low to the ground, so they make a thick but varied cover. They shine in early Summer with little clusters of pink or white flowers.

 

thyme wild flowers

Wild thyme is a good ground cover with pretty flowers

Wild thyme is the one for growing under a clothes line. It’s much more interesting than grass, doesn’t need mowing, and has the bonus of aroma. Also, like drying clothes, it prefers full sun and hot dry conditions. I don’t walk on mine, although it can stand the odd footstep. I have a couple of pavers so that I can step in under the line when I need.

Lemon thyme has dark green leaves with a dense, low habit

Lemon thyme has dark green leaves with a dense, low habit

Next to the wild thyme I have some lemon thyme. I have heard people say that they prefer lemon thyme over the standard one, and it does have a beautiful aroma, but wouldn’t really substitute for the classic variety. I like it in risottos, added near the end, so that you get the occasional spoonful with a burst of lemon. The growth form is also quite different, with bright green leaves and a more lush and low habit.

Variegated thyme makes a nice colour contrast

Variegated thyme makes a nice colour contrast

I also have a variegated lemon thyme which I put in for even more foliage contrast. The white leaf margins are just that bit eye catching.

So I’m loving my thyme lawn. My next move will be to take cuttings from the culinary thyme and move them out to the main herb garden. I have a mass of new wild thyme seedlings in trays, so I will pull out the parsley too, which is also in the wrong spot there, and plant the whole area out to thyme lawn. A couple of years from now it should look great.

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