This well-known culinary herb has many flower garden relatives, some growing as small bushes and others as prostrate mats. It is the carpeting varieties which are widely used in rockeries, producing large sheets of aromatic leaves and a covering of small flowers clustered on short stalks. It can be used to fill gaps in crazy paving or as leafy mats to clamber over rocks. Remove dead blooms with shears when flowering is finished.

VARIETIES: T.serpyllum is the basic species – height 2 in. spread 2 ft.

Flowering period: June-July. Named varieties are usually grown, and you can choose almost any desired shade from white to red – Albus’ (white), Annie Hall’ (pale pink), ‘Pink Chintz’ (deep pink) or ‘Coccineus’ (red). For most of the year the plant will not be in flower – if you want coloured foliage choose T. ‘Silver Queen’ (green and white) or the hybrid T. ‘Doone Valley’ (green, blotched gold).

SITE AND SOIL: Requires well-drained soil and full sun.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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