Tag Archives: creeping thyme

Creeping Thyme Update

A couple of years ago I wrote a post, Creeping Thyme Problems“, about my patch of creeping thyme that was totally a disaster. This post has also become one of my most popular, so I must not be alone in having ugly creeping thyme!

Creeping Thyme

After some scary, severe winter pruning, it came in the next spring healthy and lush.

Creeping Thyme

A couple years later, I’ve pruned it a bit more each year to keep it fresh and it’s still looking great. Except for the grass that has crept in.

If you’ve tried to get the grass out of ground cover mid-summer, it’s a thankless job.  I tried to bribe the kids, but to no avail.

While walking around the yard checking everything out a few days ago, I noticed that the grass was greening up and was easy to spot and pull out while the creeping thyme was still dormant.

Definitely easier than pulling it out mid-summer when everything is green and thick. You need to get right down to the grass roots, otherwise you’ve just “cut” the grass and it’ll come right back. Since the thyme is dormant, it’s easy to find the roots and not have to dig around and disturb everything.

This is a new job I’m adding to my spring garden prep list that will hopefully save me weeding time in the heat of the summer. It’s also a useful time to pull out the creeping charlie that is starting to green up and “creep’ its way around the garden.

Looking forward to thick lush creeping thyme that smells great when I walk on it this summer!



August, Oops, September Garden Update

A while back I thought I was getting caught up, but then sending twins off to college this fall proved to be quite a time consuming effort!  So the garden has been a bit on auto pilot for a little while now.  Thank goodness it got off to such a good start this spring.  Here’s some tidbits on what I would have written about, if I had had the time 🙂

There was a family of chickadees that must have nested and fledged near my feeders.  For weeks, I was so entertained by the hilarious antics of the 3 young chickadees that truly behaved like little kids.

baby chickadee

baby chickadee

I got a lot more green peppers and Mariachi hot peppers as the summer went on.  Unfortunately, Daisy was not at all dissuaded by munching on the hot peppers and continued to eat almost all this year’s pepper harvest (Little White Pepper Thief).

green pepper

Surveying the garden for her latest snack…


A couple of years ago this patch of creeping thyme was a disaster.  I wrote about it in my earlier post, Creeping Thyme Problems.  I was skeptical that the severe pruning was going to help, but it has.  It looks gorgeous and lush, and smells awesome when I walk on it to get to the garden hose.  So if in doubt, cut away, it’ll be better for it!

Creeping Thyme

Creeping Thyme

I didn’t get many sunflowers this year thanks to the bunnies.  But I did get this one, beautiful Evening Sun Sunflower.  Made me smile.

Evening Sun sunflower

Thankfully Daisy doesn’t seem have found the tomatoes or basil. I don’t ever seem to tire of fresh tomato salads.

tomato basil salad

The raspberries I planted in the spring flourished over the summer.  I even got a few tasty raspberries in the late summer.  Looking forward to having the plants mature and getting lots of berries.   What did I plant?  See my previous post “My Raspberries and Strawberry Plants Are Here!”


Two of my clematis plants got a terrible case of Clematis Stem Wilt earlier this spring (What’s Wrong With the Clematis and Clematis Stem Wilt).  I was hopeful that the plants would survive and I think they did.  Both plants put up a couple of new, healthy looking stems that looked good until the last few days when something has decided to munch on the leaves.  We’ll see in the spring how they look.  At least there’s hope.


The petunias were home to lots of pollinators.  This bumblebee was fun to watch as he dove deep into each flower.  He seemed to really prefer the dark pink over light pink.  While I have no decent pictures, I had hummingbirds also visit my yard late this summer.  I don’t always get them, so it has been a treat the last few weeks to have them visit.


How was your garden this year?

(BTW Go Hokies! Go Blue!)

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2015!  As many of you have noticed, I had to take a little break this fall.  Sometimes, life just gets busy and something needs to give.  I’ve been taking lots of pictures and notes, so I’m looking forward to catching up over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, here’s a look back at some of my most popular posts of 2014!

Painted Rock Garden Labels

1.  Painting Garden Rock Garden Markers:  A fun project to jazz up the garden.



Biltmore Estate

2. Girls Weekend in Asheville:  A wonderful weekend away in a great city!



IMG_5288 (1)3.  Angel Wings in the Snow:  Fascinating tracks in the snow.



Creeping Thyme4.  Creeping Thyme Problems:  Trying to salvage a mess in the garden.



snowflakes5.  Peggy’s Snowflakes:  Every snowflake is truly different.



stephi gardens6.  Gardening:  All in the Family:  From grandparents to great-granchildren, gardening is a family tradition.



Homemade Suet Cakes7.  Homemade Suet Cakes:  Giving homemade suet a try.  The birds loved it!



glass pumpkin8.  Visiting the Glass Pumpkin Patch 2014:  I love seeing all the different creations the artists bring every year.  



Yarn wrapped bottles9.  Yarn Wrapped Bottles:  A fun and easy craft project to decorate for the holidays, a party, a wedding, or for whatever you have that needs some color.



Raised vegetable bed10.  My New Raised Bed: Construction:  I needed more garden space so we built two new raised bed gardens.



After Vacation

Stephi Gardens

After a wonderful beach vacation and some college tours, we’re finally back home. As expected, the weather has been crazy while we were gone. The temperatures were just about average, but rainfall was almost double the normal amount. Included in this total was a single storm that dumped almost 2 inches of rain in under 2 hours and knocked out our power for almost 15 hours. Nothing like being on vacation and getting the call that the basement is flooded. Thank goodness for friends who went above and beyond to help.

So how did the garden fare? Quite well actually. With the fairly constant rain and average temperatures (and in some cases even a bit below average), I came home to a bit of a jungle. The last few years, by July we’ve been struggling with hot/dry conditions and the plants begin struggling. Not this year! I think I’ve had the sprinklers on once and that was just to test the system. Here’s some after vacation shots…

Many of the flowers are in full bloom and flourishing with the moderate temperatures and plenty of rain.  Although, I did miss most of the asiatic lily’s blooms.  They are mostly finished for the season.


Notice how beautiful the creeping thyme looks (Problems with Creeping Thyme).  Still waiting for the hummingbirds to find my flowers and feeder.

Stephi Gardens

The Purple Rooster Bee Balm is still blooming and attracting bees.   But now the accompanying Jackmanii Clematis and Pardon Me daylilies are also blooming.

Stephi Gardens


Stephi Gardens


daylilies and Russian sage

With all the rain , this garden is doing well despite the change from full shade to full sun.

annabelle hydrangea

The sunflowers have become gigantic!  Before we left they were probably only about 4 ft tall (see Before Vacation), now they are easily 7 ft-8 ft and attracting lots of bees.


The vegetable gardens are flourishing, but need some attention to prune back some of the wildness.

Stephi Gardens


Stephi Gardens

I have a nice bunch of bush beans to harvest.

bush beans

The lettuce is still hanging in there. My idea to plant them in the partly shady corner of the garden has paid off.


First time for cabbage and they’re looking great.


Cucumbers were slow to get going, but I’ll have plenty soon enough.


Zucchini and summer squash are plentiful.  Hoping to get some small tender ones harvested before they turn into baseball bats (see Giant Zucchini).  Somehow I’ve lost the garden markers labelling the squash varieties, so it’s a bit of a mystery what all the different squashes are.


So, overall, I’d say everything fared pretty well this year (definitely better than the basement).   Looking forward to the continued blooms and vegetable harvests!

Me and my giant sunflowers!


Visiting the Morton Arboretum Annual Plant Sale

Morton Arboretum Plant Sale

For me, the yearly Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Plant Sale is like sending a kid into a candy store. So many wonderful plants to pick from, some special ones that can be pre-ordered by members, and others that everyone can just go and select.  Many of my best plants have come from there.

Morton Arboretum Plant Sale

Back in early February, still in the throws of winter, comes the flyer detailing all the pre-purchase offerings.   That’s when I wish my yard was bigger so I could buy every tree, shrub and perennial in the booklet.  But, no, every year I buy less and less, since I have less and less room to plant.  I guess that’s a good thing, just not as much fun 🙁

On pick up day, coinciding with Illinois’ Arbor Day (the Arboretum’s signature holiday),  the Arboretum also has a huge tent full of other plants that come highly recommended that can be bought both by members and non-members.

Morton Arboretum Plant Sale


Morton Arboretum Plant Sale

I stopped there first, since this part is first come, first served and they often run out of varieties. What is tops on my list to find: a Purple Beautyberry Bush!  Ever since I saw them last year in the Arboretum parking lot (see Purple Beautyberry Bush post), I’ve been planning to look for them this spring.

Beautyberry Bush

Then I shopped for a bit more, finding some interesting perennials (Little Vision in Pink Astilbe,  Hosta Independence, Early Sunrise Tickseed), vegetables (tomatoes and peppers), herbs (basil, parsley, sage, mint), strawberries, and… Creeping Thyme.

Creeping Thyme


If you read my recent post on the problems I was having with my Creeping Thyme, I saw these and decided to add a few plants to try and help fill in the space a little quicker as the older plants recover from their inattention. It’s not exactly the same as what is there, but I think the varieties will look good together.

Then I went over to pick up my order,  which contained Peek-a-Blue Russian Sage, a Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink Butterfly Bush, Jeana Garden Phlox, and a Primal Scream Daylily.

Peek-a-Blue Russian Sage, Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink Butterfly Bush, Jeana Garden Phlox, Primal Scream Daylily, Little Vision in Pink Astilbe, Hosta Independence, Early Sunrise Tickseed


Morton Arboretum Plant Sale


The shrubs I can plant right away (or at least as soon as it stops raining) and the other perennials and annuals I’ll wait for a couple of weeks. Mother’s Day weekend usually is the safe, no more freeze danger mark. Until then, the perennials will hang out outside in a shady spot and the rest I’ve moved into the screen room for a little more protection from the cold weather we’ve been having. Now I just need to remember to water them!

Do you have any local plant sales in your area?

Creeping Thyme Problems

When we first redid the landscape along the back of the house, we included a small stone walkway to get to the spigot.  It was a full sun location, and needed to take some light foot traffic.  We settled on Creeping Thyme.

Creeping Thyme

I thought it was no maintenance, but over the years it become more ingrown with grass and full of woody stems.  These plants look NOTHING like it’s supposed to.  I’ll put this in the truly embarrassing category.

Creeping Thyme

The only way I know of to really keep the grass out is to keep a clean cut edge with the lawn and pull it as soon as you see it sprouting.  You need to get right down to the roots, otherwise you’ve just “cut” the grass.  That means pulling back the thyme and getting under it to get the whole grass shoot. Rather tedious, but easier to do early rather then later.

The woody stem issue is something easier to deal with.  It simply requires some attention each spring.  After the first year, the plants can be lightly pruned back, about 1/3 max.  This keep the plants rejuvenated and full.  Be careful to cut above the new growth, or it will not regrow.  Cutting is also better than trying to pull out the dead, woody parts.  The plants have fairly shallow roots and you just end up ripping everything out.


Creeping Thyme


Creeping Thyme

This is what it looks like now.

Creeping Thyme

I have a feeling this is going to be a multi-year process.  We’ll see how it looks in a couple of weeks.  If still looking peaked after a few weeks, I may need to add some fresh plants and chalk it up to a learning experience.  If it does seem healthy, I may be able to divide the plants and make new clumps.  You can also do this if the plant has become too woody in the center (oldest growth) and you want the outer, younger growth to grow unimpeded.

Overall, I think is still the best plant for the location, it just takes a little bit of care and attention.  No matter how it looks, it smells wonderful to work with and walk on!

What is your experience with Creeping Thyme?

Update: Check out what the creeping thyme looked a year later in this more recent blog post–August, Oops, September Garden Update 

Another Update: Still looking great but needs the infiltrating grass needs some attention —Creeping Thyme Update