Sunday 15 February 2009

Lawns: turf will flourish with thyme

I have been experimenting using my favourite groundcover as a lawn. Cotula squalida, a creeping evergreen from New Zealand is one of the best performers I have come across. It makes a great alternative lawn because it reaches only 2.5cm high and is happy in a semi-shady spot.

Ajuga reptans, Vinca minor, Pachysandra terminalis or Hedera helix are other good choices to carpet a shady area but I would avoid the larger leaved Ajuga 'Caitlins Giant' in this situation

There is no need to avoid some of the classic alternative lawns - camomile 'Trenague' is wonderful on the right soil, and interweaving thymes is a design classic for a reason.

This lovely thyme lawn is part of Kaydale Lodge Garden in Australia but the principal works just as well in the UK

In the sunnier parts of my garden the fast-spreading Acaena microphylla is romping away. Acaena 'Copper Carpet' is a great choice and has made a lovely evergreen carpet in my mothers front garden (very clay soil, which only gets sun for half the day) Despite the lovely ornamental burrs which give this plant its charm, it is soft underfoot, and slightly springy. The slightly glaucus colouring of the finely cut leaves, makes this an elegant choice that tones in well with red brick, slate and grey stone.

But you don't have to take such a radical step. This weekend's Times discusses a number of simple, significant changes that you can make to the way you manage your lawn to will make it easier and cheaper to look after

If you are growing an usual lawn in your garden, I would love to hear about it and see some piccies!


AMIH said...

I tried a variegated thyme once but it didn't work. Is there a tough one you would recommend for really poor, dense soil in warm shade - which doesn't mind being walked upon?

Esther Montgomery

Esther Montgomery said...

Sorry - 'Collected' was me with the wrong mail box open.

Esther Montgomery

Alice said...

What is the drainage like? You may need to improve the drainage as all thyme like it sharp - although it sounds like you may not have enough sunlight for any thyme to be that happy.

If you are after purple/blue flowers, why not consider that old favourite campanula poscharskyana? or ring the changes with Aceana - it has a similar texture and spreading habit to thyme, is happy being walked on - it's just more of a bronze/red colouring...

If they are too obvious, bug me again and I'll get my thinking cap back on!

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