Sunday Evening in the Park

All About Thyme for Miniature Gardens

Let’s look at the variations of Thyme we have to choose from when creating leafy plants along the borders of our miniature gardens.

Shaping

Thyme goes great with a lot of other plants in your miniature garden. It’s a bush next to moss, a tiny leafed contrast next to shards of Dwarf Mondo Grass. Larger and woodier than Baby Tears. A variety of different greens, from a vivid yellow colored edge on Lemon Variegated, dark green on many varieties and a bright green for the Lime cultivar. In a smaller-scale garden, use a woodier standing variety to shape a small bonsai tree.

Types of Gardens

Thyme can be grown easily in your full-sun garden with gritty and well-drained soil. You can start from seed if you really want your garden to appear young, growing and changing. Think about growing Thyme plants in a miniature farm. Transplant from “farmed rows” once the plants are large enough to become bushes for other mini gardens.

Creeping varieties will cover the surface of your ground well – so well you’ll have to keep it trimmed to keep it from covering your paths and trails through your garden.

Plant Size & Growing Habits

Thyme works great as a scale miniature garden plant because of its leaf size. It will need to be trimmed, but that’s a good thing for a culinary herb – there are tons of recipes out there for your trimmings. Share your abundance with your friends who love to cook. Grow some Parsley, Sage and Rosemary to give away along with it (Simon & Garfunkel reference!).

Varieties

Many of the varieties are based on the flavor (lemon, lime, orange, coconut etc.) but there are also different characteristics in how each plant grows and the size and shape of the leaves. Some leaves, like the ‘Pink Chintz’ variety, have leaves stacked within leaves and others are singularly distinct leaves on a stalk. Woolly Thyme has, as you might expect, furry and soft leaves. Some of the varieties are also based on the color of the flower the plant produces. If you’re keeping your thyme trimmed and small in your garden, it’s unlikely you’ll see it flower, as that usually happens on a larger, mature plant. If you want to grow a cultivar, you’ll need to buy it or take a cutting or separate out plants at the roots.

Here’s a sampling of varieties you can find in most nurseries:

Plant - Creeping Elfin Thyme

‘Elfin’ Thyme
Very small, densely packed leaves, creeping ground cover

 

Plant - Orange Thyme

‘Orange’ Thyme
Note the pointy leaves, much different than most other varieties.

 

Plant - Thyme - Coconut

Thyme ‘Coconut’

 

Plant - Thyme - English

Thyme ‘English’

 

Plant - Thyme - Lemon Variegated

Thyme ‘Lemon Variegated’

 

Plant - Thyme - Lemon

Thyme ‘Lemon’

 

Plant - Thyme - Lime

Thyme ‘Lime’

 

Plant - Thymus Pseudolanguinosus - Wooly Thyme

Thymus Pseudolanguinosus
AKA ‘Wooly’ Thyme
Soft and ground covering

 

Plant - Winter Thyme

‘Winter’ Thyme
Upright Stalks – not as “bushy” as other varieties

 

Plant - Thymus 'Rose Williams'

Thymus ‘Rose Williams’

 

Plant - Thymus - Pink Chintz

Thymus ‘Pink Chintz’
Ground cover creeping habit

 

Common Thyme is most often used in cooking. French and Mother of Thyme are also common in nurseries but were missing when I visited.

How are you using Thyme in your miniature garden?

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