Thymus

Thyme

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,” says Oberon to Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Upright or creeping, these aromatic culinary herbs form luscious mats of ground cover or sprite-sized shrubs, embellished with miniature flowers in whites, purples and pinks. In the herb garden, or around and between stepping stones or bricks, Thymes love sun and well drained soil, and can even tolerate a dose of wind and salt spray.

<i>Thymus</i> ‘Doone Valley’

This low spreading, evergreen Thyme has a lot to offer: golden variegated foliage, colorful flowers, and a tangy lemon aroma. Brimming with tiny pinkish purple blooms, the 3 to 4 in. long, flowering clusters enhance the gilt-edged, deep green leaves, which are especially bright-hued in the cool of spring. Creeping near Hebe ‘Champagne’, ‘Doone Valley’ makes a captivating, small-space ground cover.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 5" high x 18" & spreading wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Hailing from Latavin, this topnotch, rarely offered cultivar is the perfect choice for nestling between stepping stones. Resilient, deep green pint-sized leaves cavort close to the ground forming lustrous mats spangled with a slew of miniature, rosy purple blooms.

Blooms June – July.

Size: 3" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Dwelling in Turkey’s Amanos Mountains, this distinctive softly colored Thyme houses pale stems and short, stiff needlelike leaves. The low, aromatic grey-green mound is fine textured, semievergreen and well branched, and garnished with clusters of miniature rosy pink flowers, making it a natural for a trough, the rockery or a Thyme-inspired tapestry.

Blooms June – July.

Size: 8" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 7.

Distinctive gray Juniper-style foliage makes this hard-to-find Thyme unique among other species in the genus. Stubby needle-shaped aromatic leaves tightly cling to reddish brown stems that lay flat on the ground, bearing bee friendly mauve-pink blooms in spring. Awash with soft pastel shades, Juniper Thyme can be threaded between pavers plus draped over rock work or container edges.

Blooms May-June

Size: 1" – 2" high x 8" – 10" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Small pink flowers ascend a thimble’s length or two above a soft looking, broad mound of fine textured, almost needlelike foliage.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 4" high x 15" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Thymus</i> ‘Pink Chintz’

Dressed up with a fresh pink blanket of bloom and a delicate texture, ‘Pink Chintz’ is one of the first Thymes to flower. Obscured by its colorful cover, this vigorous ground hugger’s small grayish green leaves are strongly scented, close-knit and fuzzy. Try tucking Mother of Thyme in the rockery alongside Stachys ‘Silky Fleece’ and Dracocephalum ‘Blue Dragon’ for a detailed association.

Blooms May–July.

Size: 1" – 2" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Thymus praecox ssp. arcticus ‘Albus’ (P-1543)

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<i>Thymus praecox</i> ssp. <i>arcticus</i> ‘Albus’

An elfin-sized army of rounded bright green leaves and slender, wiry straw-colored stems forges a low-lying springy mass. Whether nestled into nooks or stowed amid steps, the attractive evergreen foliage gets a refreshing lift when petite white flowers form a thick summertime icing.

Blooms July–August

Size: 2' 0" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Woolly, Tom Thumb-like and cozy-looking, the aromatic silver-green leaves form a tight nearly prostate mat tough enough to handle foot traffic. This versatile pink flowering Thyme can creep between steps and patio stones or cushion hard edges in the garden, as well as spice up culinary dishes and impart medicinal properties.

Blooms May – June.

Size: 1" – 2" high x 10" – 12" wide.

Zone 3/4.

Illuminated by gold-splashed green leaves, this bushy aromatic Thyme sculpts low evergreen billows that soften our steps. Droves of lighthearted lavender-pink flowers and neighbors like Saponaria and Silene ‘Compacta’ heighten the composition.

Blooms June–July.

Size: 6" high x 12" wide.

Zone 6/7.

<i>Thymus quinquecostatus</i>

Even though its name doesn’t impart visions of beauty, we promise you’ll be smitten with this showy Asian Thyme. Highly fragrant dark green leaves and wire-thin creeping stems weave a dense verdant mat. Prolific, ample-sized rosy pink flowers festoon foliage that can soften your pavers, flavor your dinner or be utilized medicinally to fight cancer and infections.

Blooms July – August.

Size: 4" high x 12" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Exuding a spicy scent, this dense evergreen shrublet sports pretty whorls of diminutive lavender pink flowers amid grayish green needle-thin leaves. ‘Rose Williams’s natty low mounding habit makes an undemanding water wise addition to pathways, herb gardens and Mediterranean plantings.

Blooms May-June

Size: 12" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

Snugly weaving one of the tightest growing forms in the genus, minute fuzzy green leaves define each textural ground-hugging hummock that celebrates deep lavender pink summertime flowers and cold weather mahogany shades. This choice, easily maintained dwarf thyme brings refined looking ground-level greenery to a trough, stone wall or staircase.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 2" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Thymus serpyllum</i> ‘Minor’

Teensie-tiny miniature leaves comprise a snug carpet-like hummock that’s small in size, but big on charm. Remarkably rugged, the fuzzy, gray-green overlapping foliage belies its diminutive appearance, enduring some foot traffic and hot dry conditions. Pretty lavender-pink elfin flowers peek out from the fine textured soft-looking clump as it slowly mantles a staircase, the rockery or a Tom Thumb-like container planting.

Blooms July – August.

Size: 1" – 3" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Rosy pink flowers peer above this mat of semi-evergreen, fragrant, rich kelly green foliage. Noted collector Victor Reiter brought this one back to northern California from the Mediterranean. We use it liberally to fill crevices or cascade over walls.

Blooms June–July.

Size: 2" – 6" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

Saluted as both a culinary delight and a winsome garden addition, this pint-sized evergreen shrublet gives you plenty to be passionate about. Rounded shiny dark green leaves shape a compact upright habit that’s garnished with good-sized clusters of look-at-me bright pink flowers. Ideal nestled into the rockery, herb garden or topping a stone wall, ‘Passion Pink’s tidy mien responds well to shearing, requires little care and can accompany Silene ‘Compacta’ or Allium ‘Blue Eddy’.

Blooms June–July

Size: 12" high x 12" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

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