Mowable herbs.

Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 06:24:49 -0500
From: "R.M.K." <iss.RCI.RIPCO.COM>
Subject: flowering THYME

Everybody was delighted this summer... about a month ago, that a huge patch of flowering thyme <common Thymus vulgaris> appeared in my folks lawn. I suggested the lawn not be mowed, so the flowering thyme could produce seed. There was no lack of willing pollinators... the patch was inundated with many species of bees... especially Halictid <sweat> bees. The whole project seemed promising, except that here it is, six weeks later, and not a single seed has been formed... only a few of the last waning flowers remain on the tops, which are beginning to dry out.

Anybody familiar with thyme setting seed..??... does it have 'sterile' years where seed is not produced..?

From: Donna Hoff-Grambau <dhoffgr.EDCEN.EHHS.CMICH.EDU>

I live in the country on 20 acres of land, much of it seeded with flowering thyme, yet I have never seen the thyme set seed as it were. It spreads through runners - not the appropriate term, but it spreads nonetheless. It is all over my yard and is eminently mowable. I do all the time. I have oregano all over the yard as well as several varieties of mint and mow them also with no loss of vigor - in fact increased vigor - or plants.


> and mow them also with no loss of vigor

I found this post very interesting. I had read ages ago about an herb (or possibly a group of herbs) that one could grow underneath a swing set. It was suppose to be thick and very soft (for those nasty landings), but easily tolerated mowing. I don't remember if it was Thyme, Mint, or Oregano, but it could have been. We'd like to put something like that around a trampoline and under the swing set.

Any other suggestions out there?

From: "Czekalski Esther" <e.czekalski.M.BULL.COM>

Hello Kim and all,

It might have been chamomile that you heard about. I read a few days ago that there are two kinds but the one I grew in Michigan (moved away last year) made a fairly thick mat and smelled great when it was crushed. I don't know how well it holds up to traffic, though.

I'm putting stepping stones and ground cover between the raised beds that I'm starting in Boston suburbs. I started some wooley thyme, seedum (hens and chicks) and chamomile between the stones. However, I planted my tomatoes so close that I won't be able to tell you if anything survived until after frost. I have to squeeeeeeeeze between the beds and dance over/under branches full of green tomatoes to pick the ripe ones. (You can tell I'm not really complaining)

I would be interested in other suggestions for what I can try between the stepping stones, too.


> I'd like to use herbs as a pathway between our gardens(HERB GARDENS of course). What would be a sweet smelling hardy herb? I gather Thyme might suffice, but which thyme? Caraway Thyme is very pleasent but would it handle the everyday traffic?

Roman Chamomile is a perennial herb that can stand foot traffic, spreads easily, and smell nice when you walk on it. It has the added benefit of providing flowers for tea during most of the spring/summer/fall. Foot traffic will keep it worn down so that you won't have to clip it except on the edges. It will spread by seeds and runners. a clump here and there along the path should fill in easily in a year.

The problem with creeping thymes in a path (lavender, mother, caraway, wooly, etc.) is that they don't stand up to more than occasional traffic. In my experience, wooly thyme is the most durable, and it has the characteristic thyme scent when walked on. Thyme is effective when grown in between steeping stones on paths. Traffic will keep it worn off the ares most used and lend an overgrown look to the areas little used.

Organic Gardening magazine has had several articles in the last year about low/no mow ground covers, including herbs. I could provide the issue numbers/dates if any one would like.