Thyme for a Flagstone Pathway
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: A Brand New Gardener (Theresa Pettit)
Posted on: June 22, 2001

I have put in a flagstone pathway and small pad (for the picnic table) which has been set in a base of approximately 2" screening or powdery crushed stone. My question is that I would like to plant some greenery between the flagstone. The complete area is approximately 250 sq. ft. I have 2 dogs that are being trained to use the pathway.

The walkway section is in sun and the patio area has a picnic table on it where there would be no sun.

I have been told creeping thyme or wooly thyme would work on the pathway. I was also told that these types of thyme do not come in seed. Is this correct and if so would the plugs be my best option? Would these types of thyme stand up to the traffic of 2 dogs etc and can you run the lawn mower over to trim?

Yes, both the green and woolly creeping thymes work well between flagstones. These varieties are low and compact enough to be effective in tight spaces. They are low enough to avoid serious damage from the lawnmower if you set your mower at a high setting, which you should always do because grass will compete better with weeds when allowed to grow taller.

These thymes can withstand a moderate amount of traffic, although nothing, not even grass, can withstand heavy traffic. But even in flagstone pathways that get heavy traffic, these thymes can look good growing in the the cracks away from the most travelled area in the centre of the path.

Do you have any other suggestions for greenery in the sunny area and what would you suggest for the shaded area under the table?

There is not much that grows in shade and is low and compact enough. Other than moss (which is very slow growing and requires wet conditions) I can’t think of any herb that will work.

Also, if I go with plugs, would I have to dig out all of the screening between the stones and put top soil in its place?

Maybe not all of the screenings if you are not looking for a uniform cover over all of the cracks, but where you want thymes to take hold you need soil.

How deep are the plugs?

They are about two inches deep and about one inch across at the top. They can squeeze into tight spaces between stones easily.

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