Thanks for the info Jill. I put down a small stone patio where I'm going to build an arbor soon. I was going to pick up a few Thyme plants tomorrow and plant them this weekend between the stones. I left about 3/4" between stones and filled in with some nice black loam I brought in. Then I mulched over it just to keep it covered for the week while I was working. The Thyme is in 4" pots. So it sounds like I can just unpot the thyme and pull it apart into small chunks (each with some roots of course) to plant between the stones?
This seems kind of obvious, but I thought I'd check first.
I'm glad to hear there will be more people enjoying creeping thyme in their gardens!
MAF, I think that's pretty much what I'd do... but if possible, as you're pulling the potted thyme apart, see if you can get strips of rooted pieces to lay between the stones rather then lots of teeny chunks. You can also lay any trailing stems out sideways between the stones as you go and put a little soil over them here and there so they'll send down roots and "layer" into place.
Jill, have you tried the 'thyme lawns' they're raving about at, for instance, High Country Gardens? I'm just so tempted to do away with the grass all together, although DH and the neighbors don't share my enthusiasm for the project!
I haven't planted that large an expanse of thyme yet, although I'm trying to start a fairly large patch of it as a groundcover in a front landscape bed. For a lawn, you might be ahead to seed rather than plant plugs or divisions... ?
Their recommendations look solid. Wintersowing (or starting seeds inside) to produce flats and flats of plugs by clump transplanting might be a good way to go... I've never started thyme from seed, so I can't quite advise on this one.
From what I have read, there are only 2 creeping thymes that you can start from seed. One is Thymus serpyllum, the ordinary old garden variety (heh, heh) creeping thyme. I have easily started a bunch of plants as did Michaela from seed I sent her. I bought a bigger bag (1/8 lb. which is over 300,000 seeds...I could probably carpet New Jersey)from...oops, memory lapse. have to look up the source if you're interested. the other is 'Magic Carpet' Lemon Thyme. the others are infertile.
Edit to add: It grows quickly. By September, the plants from seed were about 10" diameter and even had a few sporadic blooms. They came thru the winter nicely (hardy to zone 4) I'm anxious to see them in bloom this year.
Jill, thank you for the great article. I went out looking for creeping phlox for my Mother for Mothers Day and ended up with a lemon thyme and a variagated thyme. The scents are wonderful. She was thrilled. I am trying some myself so the article is perfect for me.
As you can see in the thumbnail, I do mix creeping phlox with creeping thyme in borders... but I think I'm coming to like the thyme better. Some of the thymes seem to bloom at least as long as the phlox, and as you said, the scents can be wonderful!
Also in the thumbnail is the only thyme I have that I grew from seed. The seed was from a trade, just labeled "thyme," and what grew out looks to me like a semi-creeping English type thyme. I've got some T. serphyllum ("mother of thyme") and seen several varieties of it, and I don't think that's what I have... but you're right that the thymes that can be grown from seed are pretty limited. Mine gets 5-6 inches tall at most, with the rounded green flavorful leaves of an English thyme (T. vulgaris). Unfortunately, I seem to keep just missing the perfect time to collect the ripe seeds before they drop. I'll have to make a better effort!
All the thyme information is very helpful, esp. how most varieties can't be grown from seed. Who knew! My question is about a long stone pathway-we're putting in a 90 ft. curving path of large stones with about an inch or two between them. Would it be advisable to use multiple thyme varieties or only one variety to fill in between the stones? I like the idea of several varieties and different scents as people walk down the path. Any ideas?
I think it depends on the formality of your style... I like the slight contrast in texture etc. that you get by using different varieties, but a more formal look might need a more uniform approach. I would suggest thinking in terms of larger patches or sweeps of a particular variety rather than alternating plugs.