Creeping Thyme As Ground Cover

An example of creeping thyme ground cover

A creative use of creeping thyme to prevent soil erosion and possibly keep deer at bay.

Gardening in my area is fraught with many challenges. I deal with hard clay, the constant browsing of deer through my garden and a seriously sloped front yard. At the bottom of my sloping front yard you will find all the good soil I’ve worked hard to cultivate. All the good stuff runs downhill with the downpours that we have been getting recently.

I did not want to grow a lawn mostly because I did not want to mow it all summer long. So, I thought I would plant some dwarf mondo grass and I’d be set. I was new to the deer thing and after buying 100 plants online through eBay and then taking a Saturday to plant them, I found I had created an amusement area for the deer. It is true that deer do not like the grass but it does not stop them from pulling it out of the ground and spitting it out. The rest of the summer I watched weeds take over the front yard as the poor uprooted mondo grass lay dying amongst the weeds.

The following fall, I figured I would just mulch under the weeds and start over with something else. I mulched all the fallen leaves – laid down layers of newspaper I had been collecting and spread a thick layer of mulched leaves on top of the paper. This worked beautifully until the first hard downpour. The leaves slid down the hill revealing the layers of newspaper below it. I spent a lot of time re-spreading the leaf mulch over the sloped yard that fall.

The following spring my neighbor told me that the deer had not bothered the section of her yard where she planted creeping thyme. She divided some of her plantings and gave it to me to try. Sure enough – the deer left it alone all summer. The creeping thyme held up well during the winter – survived the snow that fell in early December and remained through January. As spring arrives, the thyme is lush and green and spreading which is wonderful because I bought 8 packages of creeping thyme from Park Seed and started the plants indoors for planting once the danger of frost has passed.

Here is my hope and I’ll let you know how it all goes – I hope that as the front yard fills in with the creeping thyme it will be able to retain the soil in my yard and that the fragrance will be strong enough that deer will no longer find my front yard appealing. I know the latter hope is slim as I’ve seen a doe bend over a rosemary plant while she feasted on the tomatoes beyond it. But I’m still hopeful that the fragrant thyme with keep my soil in place and keep the deer from pruning my Abelia into strange shapes.

Mother of Thyme – Ground Cover