A Faerie Sharing: Thyme
So. Our ‘Secret Garden’ adventure this spring began with China’s take on things. Hmm…
Look; I actually like China. She’s a fine specimen of a cat. We have the odd adventure together. (Outside; we Faeries don’t venture indoors. Not good environments for us.) She’s all right in my book.
But she knows diddly about plants. And flowers. And shrubs and trees- I guess you get the picture. You see, when the Secret Garden at East of Eliza’s comes alive in the spring, it’s really for our benefit. The Faeries. Even if the humans don’t understand this, and think it’s all about commerce
So while China’s greeting was a nice enough place-filler, on this post (yes, the two-legged big ‘uns are still rather ‘indisposed’ with all the work required to maintain the wonders of the place), we’re going to be expanding things a little;if we can work out an arrangement with the store’s version of Queen Mab, we might be coming back occasionally to infuse you all with more literary Faerie dust. Give you some insight, explain, maybe even introduce you to some elements of our little world that you may not have been aware of.
Today’s topic is thyme. Thyme has so many little joys to bring to anyone who has a relationship with their garden, or container, or even just their kitchen, for that matter. Not only is it reliably lovely, but can be very hardy once established and very practical in its uses. There are plenty of varieties to chose from, according to both your needs and fancy.
The ground-covering varieties are frequently used between the stones of path way or patios. These grow in a low, creeping manner with a height somewhere between one to four inches, a delicious, aromatic carpet for your toes as it doesn’t mind being trod on. ‘Woolly Thyme’ is pleasing to use for such purposes. It has a dense, mat-forming quality, it is grey/green in colour with tiny soft hairs on the leaves. There are also the more mound forming Thymes such as ‘Golden Lemon’ with its yellow and green variegated leaf and blissful aroma, or ‘Wedgewood’ Thyme, prized for its beautiful foliage. These are wonderful as both borders for beds or as a bit of delicate spill for your containers.Most varieties bloom, tiny flowers on mass in white, or a wide range of pinks and purples. ‘English Thyme’ (thymus vulgaris) is the most common of the family, as well as the most often used in culinary adventures. It has a neat mound like shape and can grow to the height of about 12″-18″. The care of this little gem in you garden applies to most of the Thyme varieties available to us here in Toronto. It enjoys the sun and lots of it, and happily for those of us who live in this neighbourhood, poor soil with good drainage.
Although it may survive part shade for the garden season, it won’t establish itself as a permanent addition to your plant community. You can throw an extra layer of mulch over the plant for protection over the winter, but do make sure before doing this that the ground is not wet or soggy in any way. Thyme likes things dry and the roots will rot very quickly in this scenario. Once it is happy, it is hardy and will return each year and take over the space you give it. Thyme will ultimately grow in any old nook and cranny, so long as the conditions are right, because for all its domestic uses, it has its wild side. It is, after all, what you plant to invite Faeries into your garden. If you choose to ignore this little bit of lore, so be it, but be warned; you may just find yourself on warm summer’s evening, slipping off those tiresome shoes to walk barefoot on Thyme and find yourself dancing in the light of the moon. This is when you’ll feel very close to us Faeries.
Yours in The Secret Garden,