Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's thyme


It's always time for thyme in my book. No matter how many thymes I grow, there always seems to be a new one waiting...
I was more than a little suprised to find a number of thymes on my last summer's trip to Central Asia: at the highest elevations of Mongolia and Kazakhstan, where 40 below is frequent in winter, several beautiful species occurred. These (like most the thymes I grow) would bloom in Denver in spring or early summer.

There is one beautiful species that blooms predictably in late summer and fall. That's Thymus comosus, from he Balkans. I grew this first at Denver Botanic Gardens for many years in a deep pink form. I shared seed locally and Ray Daugherty grew a pure white form once. Despite loving the plant, one day I noticed it had disappeared.

Eventually I tracked it down again: I think I got it at Arrowhead Alpines this time around. The same shaggy heads of bloom in August and September, only this time they are a cool lavender pink instead of magenta rose. Oh well...

Any plant that makes a pool of color in August is welcome, and this one colors a fine purple in the winter as well. Perhaps my bright purple pink form is still lurking in a local garden, or passed on to someone around here who can share it back? Hint hint...