June 10, 2010

It's the Simple Things

It's the simplest things that delight.

I planted Thymus serpyllum 'Alba' under some roses to stabilize a little hillock of dirt that rises about 8 inches from the edge of pavers at the top of our driveway.  I hoped it would spread out somewhat and hold the loose mound of soil.

No big deal, just a utility plant to cover bare dirt that kept washing down to the bricks below.  The real show here is the rose thicket above, next to some arching daylilies and waving grasses.

I put a dozen little thyme plugs in, and then forgot about them as I tended to my real gardens, the ones with the big robust shrubs and the needy bloomers and the fussy hybrids and the cultivars with cute names.  I didn't even pay attention to the spreading thyme as I occasionally deadheaded the roses above.

And quietly, undemandingly, sweetly and without any fuss whatsoever, they filled the bare spots and settled in to do their job of covering the berm edge.  One day as I came up the driveway, I saw a carpet of white, with a few rose petals scatted on top.

What a charmer!  How did this happen without me noticing? 

And here's the genius of it: because the thyme carpet is draped over a raised edge at the top of our driveway, it's what you see as you come up the slight slope driving in.  It's a bit of an eye-catcher!

I never intended this effect, and never thought of this groundcover mat as a garden focal point.  I didn't even notice it starting to happen.  Then one day this carpet was just there. Yes, it is keeping the soil at the edge from washing down, exactly as hoped, but who knew it would steal the limelight and delight in such a simple way?


  1. Who would have thought? I have a problem also with soil washing down, I think I had better pick up some thyme. What a great idea.

  2. Beautiful effect! I didn't realize thyme could be so sneaky :D

  3. What a lucky surprise. Sometimes those unintended situations are the best.

  4. Dear Laurrie, It is always so very exiciting and pleasing when something by which one had not set great store turns out to be so successful. Your little thyme bank is utterly charming and just right for the situation. I am sure that it is loved by bees, is impervious to being trodden on and, of course, is beautifully scented.

  5. Deborah, I hope you can solve your soil erosion... I'd definitely recommend this one, thymus serpyllum 'Alba'.

    Kyna, Time is sneaky and a thief, Thyme just steals your heart!

    Lisa, it was a lucky surprise indeed.

    Edith, welcome back, we all missed you while you were gone.

  6. I love unexpected effects like this--the creeping thyme really is an eye-catcher!

    Thanks for dropping by to visit me--I love your blog title. I wish my weeds were as apologetic:)

  7. Laurrie, your little thyme bank is sweet! I am trying to start a path of woolly thyme right now it seems to be thriving.

  8. Rose, it really was an unexpected effect, and it turned out well.

    Garden Ms. S, apparently thyme is quite easy to grow. I hope yours fills in nicely.


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