Thyme: Two plants that have given me as much pleasure as any of the others are members of the thyme clan. Both grow in a sunny bed near the street at the outer edge of the sprinkler system’s area of coverage. Both are Thymus praecox cultivars and are tiny, creeping thymes.
One of them hugs the ground and grows about one or two inches tall. Looking back at my records, I find that it is T. praecox ‘Coccineus’ and it has been in my garden now for about five years. It started as a tiny plant ordered from Wayside Gardens. Gradually it has spread to fill an area about two feet square. I keep pulling up other plants nearby and encouraging it to spread and fill the area.
These tiny thymes hug the ground in a dense mass. They are perfect at the front edge of the border where they form an evergreen groundcover of tiny leaves. I’m tempted to stoop down and pat them whenever I walk by, for their feel and texture is as interesting as their familiar aroma.
Thymes flourish in well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine. Upright varieties should be kept pruned lightly and regularly. Left unpruned, they become woody and split easily. Culinary varieties are usually replaced every two to three years because of their tendency to become woody and straggly. Propagation is from seed, division, or cuttings.