Replacing thyme plants for a coherent garden design

Thyme on steps feb 08I have finally decided to replace a few thyme plants on the steps leading down to the potager. They had grown and grown and were beyond their pleasing design shape.

That’s the annoying thing about plants. They grow. And if you are inattentive about cutting back after flowering, then you reap the consequences.

Oh yes, and they endured a flood.

One of the rather glaring features of this part of the garden were the bright white steps of crazy paving. Very seventies. Which lead down from the couryard and to the side of the vegetable garden.

It is also in the courtyard under the grape vines; but we can hide this with our enormous oak table. But the steps. They needed softening.

So way back in 2008, just months after we moved in, I went and bought twenty young thyme plants and stuck them down one side.  There was very little soil here so the plants had to fight it out. And for a few years they were a delight. thymesinflower

Particularly when they were in flower as the bees went mad for the pollen. But I was always so happy to see them putting on good growth in such inhospitable surroundings, and covering the glaring steps that I didn’t cut them back. Much.

I planted hyssop on the right.

And the top three thymes were very wayward. You know how floppy these plants can get when the top heavy growth forces them flat.

Add to that a lot of debris accumulating under the plants – vine leaves blowing about, a few mulberry leaves I didn’t catch in my annual leaf chasing season.

1thymesSo I decided that some of them were too far gone to radically cut them back.  Were I serious about garden design I would rip out the lot and start again. They do grow quickly and I would get the uniform effect in just two seasons.  But I just don’t fancy that.  These plants have worked very hard to get their roots down and I can live with the wonky look.

The three new thyme plants look titchy compared with the ones lower down the step. But I will try to keep my eye on this over the next two seasons when they take off.