Where to buy creeping thyme plants locally or online

agathawords(7)May 22, 2009

Newbie here, both to gardening and to the forum. I'd appreciate any advice folks could pass on.

I'd like to plant a mix of varieties of thyme to grow in between the stepping stones leading up to our front porch (the article that gave me the idea is here: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/dep/greenman/fragrant_pathway.pdf).

The pathway faces north but receives full sun all day. Soil is regular clay but I'm happy to amend if needed (I know some thymes need excellent drainage, and our regular old culinary thyme has done great in a raised bed).

I'd like some or all of the thymes to be fragrant. Being drought-tolerant, fast-growing, step-on-able, and suitable for cooking/flavoring would be a bonus (I'd love a lemony thyme that's not too tall to use in place of lemon zest/juice).

Here are some of the others suggested in the publication above:

Aureus 'creeping golden'

Caraway (I've heard it's invasive-- but great for flavoring meat-- wonder if the tradeoff would be worth it... I would like fast-growing..)

Creeping lime

Creeping red

Creeping white moss

Creeping wooly

Lemon Mother-of-Thyme

Mountain Thyme

Pink Ripple Thyme

Slver Thyme

I would like to create that beautful "tapestry" effect by mixing many varieties of thyme.

The pathway is 3' by 30' and I'd really like to it to fill in completely in 3 years or under.

Question is-- where can I buy these many varieties of thyme in bulk for the lowest cost?

Have looked online at Sandy Mush Herb Nursery (outside of Asheville-- didn't see any bulk discounts on their site, though), Mountain Valley Growers (shipping is expensive from CA), and Richters (prices are great, but again, shipping is expensive and I fear border delays).

Would you all recommend buying online or from a local nursery for a project of this scale?

How much thyme would you recommend buying up front? I know I can divide later... (though I've heard I have to wait up to 3 years to divide??) And about how fast do different varieties grow?

Thanks so much-- I've read through this forum and you all sound like a great group of people.

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Google 'steppables'. It's a marketing name for plants that can be used like you plan to.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:05AM
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I just planted three types of creeping thyme around my new raised herb garden. I used half sand and half top soil with a little compost thrown in, and they're growing very well so far. 'Highland Cream' is a neat variegated cultivar you can check out, and 'Elfin' stays amazingly short...1" or less. I found mine at the Duke Gardens plant sale a few weeks ago, but you can get these from Bluestone online as well if you can't find them locally (they're a little bit more, but Bluestone is reputable). They have 13 varieties to choose from.

I bought three of each but left plenty of room to fill in between them. They're fairly carefree from everything I've heard, which is good because I plan to ignore them. =)

Here is a link that might be useful: Bluestone Thyme

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 6:19PM
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In my experience, a small pot of ordinary thyme spreads about 2 feet wide in one year. I like the Bonnie's herbs in the bio-degradable pots that you can find locally at a lot of nurseries and big box stores.

Lemon thyme spreads slower than the ordinary thyme in my garden. It's a lovely thyme, though.

I've had bad luck with the red/rose bloom thyme not standing up to the intense full sun in my south-facing garden. That surprised me!

You can mow over the thyme as long as your stepping stones are low enough to not be hit by the mower (raise the blade).


    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 10:46PM
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I just bought my Creeping Thyme from the Farmers Market in Raleigh. I can't remember exactly which vendor I bought it from but they had a couple of "steppables". Several vendors had different varieties. I love the Lemon Thyme. It smells so good when I have to clip it back. Dirtrx

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 9:47AM
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Thanks everyone so much for the suggestions and information. You've inspired me to get on the plant exchange, search out my yard for perennials to share, and think about what plants will accompany my hosta bed in the back yard!

Seems gardeners are good people.

I have used Bluestone, appreciate their customer service and guarantee, and found that plants arrived in good condition. Had no idea they sold so many varieties of thyme. I'll look for steppables at the local nurseries, and if I don't find enough varieties of thyme in stock, order from Bluestone.

Happy gardening! You've inspired a newbie. :)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 7:53PM
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I have a ton of common thyme I grew and I swear the more you abuse it the better it does. I have found it rather easy to grow from seed as well. This type seems to fill in the quickest, be more dense, and is more forgiving than other types I have had.

Out of all the varieties I have purchased, right now I have a yellow margin variegated type and silver thyme left. They have not only spread fairly quick but you can cut off small bunches, pull off the bottom leaves and put them in moist soil in the shade and they root really easily. And those rooted pieces become bigger plants rather quickly.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 9:10PM
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FYI, Bluestone is having its half-price sale and many of these creeping thyme are on it. Good till 5/31.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 9:32AM
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