Tag Archives: creeping thyme

Creeping Thyme

IMG_2005This is my cottage garden path, made from stones I dug out of the ground while trying to landscape this part of the yard. It still doesn’t quite have that English garden feel, mostly because my plants aren’t mature enough yet, but partly because the path is just stone and dirt.

Last year I bought a packet of 2,000 creeping thyme seeds off of Amazon. Since some of the reviews were questionable, I decided to start them indoors to monitor growth and moisture a little more closely. Dragon boy “helped.”


Once they germinated, I transplanted them directly into the path, and watered them every day for a few weeks to make sure they survived. Roughly thirty plants have made it.


They looked like this at the end of March-you can just barely see the tip of the second plant on the right of the picture below.


I checked on them a few days ago they had nearly doubled-there are actually four plants in this picture-two larger specimens, and two smaller in front.

Since I am pregnant, I decided against germinating these indoors, and instead decided to direct sow.

IMG_2682I chose an evening after a light drizzle had moistened the ground-expecting a week or so of light rain to help with germination. Then Dragon boy and I headed outside with nothing more than a pack of seeds and a desire to get dirty!

These seeds are extremely tiny. I don’t remember any directions being provided on the back of the packet last year, but that was a pretty huge complaint on Amazon, which it looks like the seller has remedied.


What I had to do last year was look this up on other websites and guesstimate requirements light/soil, and depth of planting. I mean, it’s basically just thyme-so if you have ever planted thyme before, the same instructions apply. I went to the Missouri Extension, and the Missouri Botanical Garden websites for additional zone info, but their information wasn’t any different then, say, bluestone perennials.


Even though the seeds are super tiny, I was able to pick out exactly three of them and place them carefully in Dragon boy’s hands. It was so adorable watching him work on his fine motor skills, attempting to pick these out of his hand and plant them! But he carefully, and diligently did so, counting along the way. Who says a three year old can’t help in the garden?

We planted these on April 18, and I am still waiting for some results. Its been about two weeks, and has rained nearly every day, so germination ought to be well on its way.

So what have I saved by starting these by seed? The packet is $4.50, and I counted roughly 30 plants in my garden path this spring. Bluestone Perennials sells a few different varieties of creeping thyme between $6.95-$8.95. So on the low end, I saved $208.50 last year by purchasing seeds over plants. And for me, 30 plants out of 2,000 seeds is still fine (after all, I did waste 3/4 of that packet by covering it later with sod when I realized I wanted grass instead of thyme).

I hope I am just as successful this year as I was last year. Only “thyme” will tell.


DIY Landscape Part 6: Plants

Cont from Part 5.

Now for my favorite part-the plants! I LOVE flowing plants! The boxwood were possible all I thought I could take of non-flowering plants. And though I had a “basic” landscape design, I didn’t know exactly which plants I wanted to use. I had thought out some of my plant selections, like the Iris and the Peonies, but not all of them. And like most people, I am susceptible to the catching disease of impulse plant buying-and found out many of the reasons why a well thought out garden is preferable to a garden driven by impulse.

I had purchased some Peony roots, Gladiolus corms,  and some packets of seed for Lupine, Shasta Daisy, Forget me nots, and Sunflower (for the kids to have fun with). I was in a bit of a hurry for flowers and foliage, so these went in while the path and yard were still “in progress”.


The Peonies probably took the longest to grow, even though I planted them first. I dug holes in the grass and surrounded them with stones so I would know where they were. They went in the first week of April, and I just can’t remember when the buds started to emerge, but I was also in a hurry since my neighbor mowed down one of the emerging peonies. This was what inspired the brick border between the lawns, something that became a priority at the time.

Here is the “damaged” Peony at the end of May, sending up its second shoot, with pictures of the other two that were planted at the same time. Obviously they had more time to develop.


And here are the same Peonies almost a year after initial planting (the damaged peony is reflected in the last two pictures).


I planted the glads behind the boxwood. It seemed a good idea at the time-they were supported by the house, they had a vertical space to enhance-and for the most part, they did bloom. But I discovered the first of my many impulse buying errors-not all “perennials” are perennials in my zone. Glads happen to behave like an annual. The frost and winter moisture kills them. If you want them again the next year, they must be “lifted” in the fall. I didn’t do that. I want a low maintenance garden. Lifting corms in the fall is anything but.


The Lupine didn’t make it more than a few months. Im not sure what I did wrong, because they germinated fine, but I decided that if they needed more maintenance than I could give them, they weren’t appropriate for the spot, so I won’t be trying them again.


The same went for the hollyhocks and the astilbe, both of which I planted bare-root.

I also planted seeds for forget me knots and shasta daisy. The forget me knots did great, but I think I accidentally pulled up the shasta daisy (a common theme with me-everything looks like a weed until it flowers).


Here are the baby alyssum that that were spot planted. They worked splendidly as erosion control, and I will probably plant them again this year if they didn’t self-seed.


At a local greenhouse, I purchased 3 containers of Hens and chicks (mainly to go between the borderstones for the path). I also received some for free from another neighbor a few blocks. He had advertised at the local nursery that his “little poultry farm” was “growing too large”. He sent me home with a large cast iron pot smack full of them.


Another impulse buy-Peruvian Daffodil. I have a sneaking suspicion these are also annuals in this zone.

IMG_1230 IMG_1344

The rains were eroding my path. After some research, and some investigation into my slope, I realized not only did I need a low, creeping filler plant between the pavers, but I would most likely need two different kinds. One plant, at the top part of the path on either side, needed to be tread resistant, and tolerant of well drained and dry soils. The other would also need to be tread resistant, but tolerant of wet soils since it was in the valley of the slope.

Hence the creeping thyme at the top . . . (the first photo is from last year, the last three were taken a few days ago)

IMG_1443IMG_2429 IMG_2430IMG_2432

. . . and some creeping Jenny at the bottom of the path. The creeping jenny spread fast and far in very little time. I have split it up and moved it to many different locations in the yard. I love how quickly it grows, and am not deterred in the least by its potential to take over everything.


My order for Hydrangea Ruby slippers hasn’t arrived yet, but it should be here in April. I also have some purple sage plants (between all the Peonies and the future hydrangea plant) . . . they are starting to come up . . .


Tulip and crocus . . .


Glory of the snow . . .

IMG_2349. . . and Agastache Raspberry summer (to replace the Hollyhocks).

IMG_2144 (1)

Behind the Agastache I planted some impulsively purchased purple globe allium. These suckers may be too big for that small patch (they now have a 5” circumference), but I am still excited to see how they look.

IMG_2260 (1)IMG_2142 (1)

I purchased some Sunbeam Coreopsis last year, having been informed that they were a perennial and would come back. This year, in spite of my doubts, I found that there did appear to be tender buds beneath the plant, covered in leaf mulch. I planted them in front of the future hydrangea site both to “heel in” while I prepare their future location, but also to help with erosion in that site.


I had some lobelia, but I think I killed it. The greenhouse informed me it should do well toward the bottom of a slope where there was a lot of moisture, but I am not so sure now. They died out pretty quickly. I suspect root rot. I’ll keep an eye out for growth from the area where I planted them, but I have very little hope.

Cont to Part 7.