Real Men Sow

A Tale of Two Thyme

I’ve got two thyme plants in my herb patch, both with contrasting histories.

One plant – let’s call him Thyme A – was bought from a stall at a folk festival my wife made we go to I went to last summer. He looked a very healthy specimen; I like thyme and I’d struggled to grow it at any great pace previously. ‘Perfect,’ I thought, ‘he can go straight into the new herb bed I’d just created in the garden’. I was chuffed with the plant, and suddenly the festival was the best thing ever.

Thyme B, on the other hand, can only be described as a slow bloomer. I made some sowings in a coldframe during Spring 2011. By September of that year, the plant was barely the size of my palm. I was disappointed but having gradually moved the thyme out of the cold frame I planted it out anyway.

The Death of a Thyme
Tidying up the herb garden this week, I noticed that sadly one of the thyme plants is no longer with us. Initiallly, the surprising thing for me was that it was Thyme A that has succumbed to the winter and gone to the compost bin in the sky (or back of the garden). Despite regular pickings, Thyme B remains in good condition, sat in its corner of the bed and still full of lovely dark green leaves (pictured).

Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Some plants don’t make it through the winter, I know, but this tale of two thymes has got me thinking that maybe slow and steady really does win the race.

Thyme B has taken a fair old while to get to this stage, and while a ready grown plant seemed like a great idea at the time, I had no idea where Thyme A had come from. I could have been grown indoors, in a completely different environment to my garden. Maybe the thyme wasn’t ready to go outside. Maybe that’s why the plant wasn’t strong enough to last the winter in its new home.

Yet Thyme B has spent time acclimatising itself to environment and surroundings. Whereas unknown origin Thyme A has fallen at the first sign of cold, Thyme B has grown up within the microclimate it is part of, and is now a pretty robust little thing.

And I absolutely love Thyme B for this. I feel deeply satisfied that this plant has come good, and Thyme B has taught me that there is nothing better than growing a plant yourself from seed. 2013 looks like it could be a big year for this pint sized plant.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
I suppose what I’m trying to say is I reckon here in lies a little metaphor for vegetable growing. Taking shortcuts (buying a plant) is great, but the best stuff we grow is the ones that we nurture from the very beginning, being patient and taking our time. Good things come to those who wait.

Well, that’s what I think anyway.

Apart from the awesome sage plant I bought from the farmers market that is now colossal and wonderful and strong as an ox. Humour me here, please.

The plants we grow from seed are stronger and better equipped, and most of all, much more satisfying when everything comes together.

Happy New Year, Thyme B. May 2013 be your best yet.

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4 Comments

  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!January 2, 2013 at 10:20 pmReply

    Good advice that I’m sure I’ll ignore at least a couple of times this spring. ;-)

    BTW, I’d be really worried if I were down to a single thyme plant in the garden!

  2. Helen/patientgardenerJanuary 3, 2013 at 7:49 pmReply

    I wonder if your seed sown thyme is more robust than the one you bought which might have been brought on a generous heat etc making a weak plant.

  3. Jono

    JonoJanuary 3, 2013 at 10:25 pmReplyAuthor

    Haha Alan – I make you right. I bet I end up buying plants at markets on impulse. You’re also right about being down to a single thyme plant in the garden. I’ll be sowing plenty more this spring.

    That’s what I thought Helen. Thinking back, the stall had quite a lot of exotic plants on there and I reckon most of them had been brought on like that.

  4. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Creating a Herb GardenJanuary 4, 2013 at 8:51 pmReply

    [...] A Tale of Two Thyme [...]

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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