A garden is the best alternative therapy.

It was a beautiful day today, was it not?

We woke up at 7 Saturday morning to go down to the Round Rock Farmer’s Market, where we picked up some beautiful carrots, a couple of loaves of tasty homemade bread (one was pumpkin, and the other was cracked pepper and Parmesan) and some homemade natural soaps.   On the fly, my mother-in-law, wife and I headed on down to Round Rock Gardens, a local nursery off of Sam Bass near southbound I-35.   It’s funny, but I was thinking as I approached the gates to the nursery that I was just as excited about looking at plants than I used to be going places like Best Buy.  I spend less time playing with gadgets these days, which is good.  I spend time in front of the computer researching, writing and working, but I mostly just love to be out among my plants.  I find this more rewarding than any gadgetry.


Visiting a nursery, however, is now just as bad as visiting Best Buy used to be.  Every plant beckons to me for its escape with promises of lush foliage and fantastic blooms.  I have to stop myself.  Literally.   Since I didn’t intend to go there in the first place, it didn’t make much sense to go spending money, but … so we picked up a couple of Whirling Butterfly plants, a rose bush and I picked out four yellow creeping thyme plants to intermix among the Mother of Thyme that arrived Thursday.   I wanted more than that, so kudos to myself for a little elf control.

The sun played peek a boo a little this morning as I began work on the flagstones.  I had already installed the stones, but needed to go back and dig out the dirt between them to provide better soil for the thyme plants.   I dug down about 6-8 inches between each stone – a task that took me a couple of hours because the soil was mostly heavy clay with some small limestone pieces.  I worked together some organic garden soil, compost and landscaping soil and put that into the troughs I dug out and firmed it down.  Then I went back through and stuck skewers into the ground to get a better feel for placement of the twelve Mother of Thyme plants and where I would work in the four yellow thyme.   After getting that straight, I dug out holes and dropped the plugs into their new home and watered deeply.  I’m pretty pleased with how they look even now, but here in a few months, when they creep between the stones and fill in, it will be truly nice.  These thyme plants only grow about 4″ tall, but have a spread of 2-3′.  They also spread fairly quickly.  Both varieties blooms pink in mid-summer.


This is the yellow thyme, which can withstand fairly heavy foot traffic once established.


This is the Mother of Thyme


Flagstones before any work


After digging out between the stones and filling with soil


Figuring out plant placement - brown stakes represent the yellow thyme


after plugging in the thyme plants


another view


And, just so you can visualize with me, this is what I hope to have it look like:

creeping thyme between stones


Comments on: "Thyme to Transplant Between the Flagstones" (18)

  1. Absolutely gorgeous. I have also had a variegated thyme, which was very nice. I hope you will take more pics this summer when it is established. Where did you get your Flagstone?

    Sounds like my kind of Saturday. I have been wanting to catch the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. It sounds like they have some nice things to offer.

    I love Round Rock Gardens. Not only do they take better care of their plants than the big box stores, they carry some neat unusual plants too. I bought Patchouli there one year. Haven’t seen it since.

    • roundrockgarden said:

      Thanks, Jenny. I’ll be sure to post updated pics. I got the stone from a couple who advertised them on Craig’s List. They completed a project and had a stack of leftover stones at $1-$2 each, so I jumped on it. They’re $8 each at Home Depot and none of those are as big as some of the ones I got for $2.

      The farmer’s market had lots of cold weather stuff like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, radish, carrots, but also some organic strawberries – if you want to pay $7. They were beautiful and the sample was outstandingly sweet, but … Still, some good folks out there sharing their harvest. The soaps are great. I picked up the “gardener’s scrub” for myself. It has corn meal in it as the scrub and smells like cinnamon and clove. Very nice.

      Do you still have the patchouli? I love the scent, but I’ve never seen it for sale – ANYWHERE. Wow!

    • Stephanie said:

      Hey Guys

      Thanks for the mention on your blog!

      You might be interested to know we got some patchouli this week–you’re right, it’s hard to find.

      We appreciate your patronage and hope you’ll keep visiting us

      Staff at RRG

      • roundrockgarden said:

        Sure thing, Stephanie! I actually just got on Google yesterday and left a positive review for RRG’s as well. I enjoy your nursery and I wish you continued success! ~ Joseph

  2. No, sadly, the patchouli is an annual, very tender like basil. I’ve not found it anywhere around here again. I’ve heard through the grapevine they have it at Blue Moon up near Dallas–a little far to go for patchouli. I’m going to look for seeds on the net.

  3. That is going to look great. I thought about doing that, but wondered if the grass would over take the plants in between the stone. I am still debating it becasue one side of the house does not drain well when it rains. I was going to do some digging of the grass, lay pebbles then the stone and then some plants in between. Still researching before I put my plan into action.

    • roundrockgarden said:

      I wondered that, too, but I think that by taking out all of the sod and putting in new dirt, I should be able to keep it trimmed and weeded enough until the thyme takes hold. I think it will be fine after that. Did you know that one hour of mowing produces the same amount of emissions as driving eight hours in a car? ACK! With that said, I’m all behind your efforts to rip up the grass!

  4. I have always wanted a flagstone path with thyme. I’ve temporarily settled on a mulched pathway, but at least it’s better than the weed pathway I had last year! Hopefully next year I’ll be able to get the flagstone I need (it’s a lot). This year I still have to focus on plants.

  5. Hi, great work there!

    I’m thinking of installing a garden path (with rectangular cut stones), but I’ve read online that I should remove the dirt, layer the path with GRAVEL and then SAND, so that the stones fit in place.

    My question, then, is how will I be able to grow creeper thyme (or any ground cover) between the stones, if the whole path is now gravel and sand?

    Can you shed some light on this please? It doesn’t look like you used any sand, so does that mean it’s not mandatory to keep the stones firm?

    • roundrockgarden said:

      Thank you! I’m proud of it thus far and it was a relatively simple task.

      Good question – you probably won’t. Thyme doesn’t mind rocky soil, but sandy rocks won’t do! 🙂

      This is what I did: I only excavated the sod at the exact place I wanted the stone to sit. Then I dug out another inch or so and added about an inch of decomposed granite (you can also use sand). After that, I put the stone in place and then adjusted the granite so that it sat level. I only dug down enough to set the stone and still allow it to sit above the ground two inches or so. Then I actually dug troughs around each stone about 4″ down, then filled all of those troughs with landscaping mix for which to plant my thyme. You’re right – I didn’t use any sand. The ground here is pretty compacted and has a lot of clay, so I’m not worried about the stones sinking, especially with the added crushed granite.

      Since you are working with rectangular stones, I assume you will be clustering them and allowing space between to plant. Can’t you do something similar with the clusters of rectangular stones? I don’t see why you have to line the entire walkway with sand and gravel if you still want to allow thyme to grow. Look at this site here – they’re using round pavers and clustered rectangular stones intermixed with plants. They also only used sand directly under the stones they laid.

      • Thank you so much for your reply, Joseph! You’ve saved me from quite a headache. I was pretty much thinking about the same method you just mentioned, but I wasn’t sure about it before. I’ll get cracking on this project soon.

        Will let you know how it goes. Cheers!

      • roundrockgarden said:

        Good luck with your project, Fahd!

    • I have made two different paths in my garden. The first one being a brick path using the gravel/sand method you were talking about. That method is mostly used if you are making a more formal path where the stones are going to be closely fit together.

      The other pathway I have leads through the shade garden and is made up of randomly placed flagstones, much like Joseph’s. In this path we laid out the stones first so we could see where we wanted each stone to go and then just cut the ground to fit the shape of the stones. I didn’t even lay sand down. I’m going to lay a ground cover down between the stones like Joeseph did, but probably not Thyme as it needs more sun. There is a large selection of Stapable (http://www.stepables.com/) ground covers I’m looking over to see which would work best. Most Stepables can be found in your local nursery, but their site always makes me drool.

  6. Any ideas of how to keep the thyme neat between the flagstone, I’ve been clipping with scissors, but it is very time consuming.

    • roundrockgarden said:

      Actually, that’s what I did a few times, too. It is thyme-consuming! 🙂 Now that I have a little more experience with these thymes, the Mother-of-Thyme variety is not what I expected because it grows up to 4″ tall. The lemon thyme I purchased only grows 1-2″ tall and, as such, requires no trimming. Next Spring, I’ll be looking for more of this variety and putting those in place of the Mother-of-Thyme. Chalk that one up to experience.

    • I use my lawn trimmer. If you have one, angle the trimmer so that it sits more vertical than horizontal. You can trim just around the stones, leaving the rest of the thyme alone. Also, I recommend not planting a culinary thyme around stones as it can get fairly high. Instead, look for a non-edible Thyme that is cultivated just for planting around pathways. Some of these Thymes can come in different citrus scents, like lemon, which smell wonderful once stepped on.

  7. I’ve had a flagstone patio with two types of thyme for going on 8 years now directly adjacent to the lawn. Yes. The grass and other weeds do become a problem. I would suggest some sort of barrier between the flagstone/thyme and the lawn such as metal. I know it seems unsightly – but it can be installed so that the metal sits just below the edge height of the stone. Grass is the worst weed! Until I installed the metal I was spending too much time keeping the grass and clover out – even resorting to herbicides which helped but was not the solution….hope that helps! Looks good!

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