Leaf Thyme (Serpolet): (Thymus serpyllum)

Serpolet. All labiates

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Perennial all three. It is probably easiest to buy plants, although with ordinary thyme, even though but a few seeds from a packet will sprout, it may be worthwhile to prepare a bed and sow them in the early spring. Germination is very slow. There may or may not be a number of subspecies of ordinary thyme—it is certain that, from one climate and soil condition to another, thyme differs greatly. The garden thymes of the Parisian region and of England are, in appearance and in fragrance, of another world from that which grows wild in Provence (as, in a very different way, is that of the Peloponnesian hills). I have sown both here (one package labeled “Thym des Jardins” and the other “English Thyme”) and both produced identically the same plant that grows wild in profusion on the hillsides and that I have planted in borders throughout the garden. It was an interesting experiment, in no way disappointing, for the Provençal thyme has much more character than that of more northern climates and richer soils—no doubt but that a poor rocky, limey soil and arid summers produce the best thyme. The garden thymes have more fragile stems and the vegetation is thicker, bushier, and greener. Provençal thyme is straggly, its leaves silver-gray-green and its stems heavy and gnarled in microscopic imitation of the proximate olive trees.

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