Part of the charm of a traditional potager is that so much thought and care has gone into every element of the design. Not a corner of the plot is wasted, and even the space between paving stones can be put to good use. A thyme pathway looks appealing all year round and has the added bonus of blooming for many weeks in summer when it will attract all sorts of beneficial insects to your plot. What’s more, you’ll have an abundance of fragrant leaves to use in all kinds of savoury dishes, oils and vinegars. Thyme is said to aid digestion and have antiseptic properties.
Select varieties with attractive colouring such as ‘Goldstream’ and ‘Russettings’ which have unusual variegated foliage. If plants are large, divide them carefully by gently teasing the roots apart.
Plants do well on freely draining soil. Dig a hole twice as deep and round as the root ball, mix a little sifted compost and sand into the hole and place plants around 25cm apart. Water well.
Each plants will soon spread to form a ground-hugging mat of dense foliage. While plants are establishing their roots, water regularly so the soil is moist but never waterlogged.
Thyme usually comes into bloom in midsummer and the fragrant purple flowers can last for many weeks. They attract bees and butterflies, as well as helping to deter pests such as mosquitoes.
After flowering, tidy your plants up by giving them a quick trim with a sharp pair of shears. Cutting them down by around a third usually keeps them neat, but trim again in spring if necessary.