When in doubt, grow thyme

My poor plants have taken quite a hit since our long holiday to California a couple of months ago. Actually, thinking back, they were already suffering before then as we have been away a lot this year. Even though we have a wonderful friend who always pops in during our holidays¬†to give the plants a drink, the weather has been so up and down with the rain that it’s a tough ask for anyone to figure out the right amount they need. I also haven’t been feeding them very well¬†and I think the constant rainfall has washed away a lot of the natural nutrients in the soil.

Then there have been the uninvited pests. The ants in the kitchen was just the start of it. It seemed that overnight, our balcony became a haven for creepy crawlies and they came out all at once. We had flying ant nests (which I mistook for termites initially), mites and whiteflies on the eggplant, mealy bugs on the kalanchoe, and more than what I thought was a fair share of ants just everywhere. And where were my lizard pals who usually have such a good time swanning themselves around my pots? Completely MIA. Not happy Jan.

Needless to say, we have had a few plant casualties as a result. I won’t go¬†into it as it makes me quite¬†sad. I didn’t even realise how sad I was until I barely went out onto the balcony anymore and only perfunctorily watered the surviving plants.¬†I was in a real funk for a while, trying to find the nerve to farewell the ones that were long past any chance of recovery. I know that having dead or dying plants in your home is bad mojo but you know, it’s hard to say goodbye. So it took a while.

Anyway, after all that, I wasn’t sure how I felt about planting afresh. It just felt like so much trouble and I was worried there would be more infestations. So things got a little bare and empty.

That was until I started running out of thyme.

Of my big planter box of thyme, only two sprigs had managed to live through the plagues, which meant there wasn’t enough to snip off for a recipe I needed. And if there’s one thing I don’t like to do, it’s to buy herbs, because:

  1. They’re expensive;
  2. They don’t last very long here; and
  3. I never manage to use up a whole bunch and given no. 2 above, some of it always ends up in the trash.

Thus my hand was forced. Buy more thyme (no pun intended), or grow some.

Well, it was a bit of a no-brainer really. I still had plenty of seeds left in the packet from a year ago and fresh potting soil out the back to boot.

So a week ago, I scattered some seeds into the pot and covered them lightly with fresh potting mix. Almost immediately, that funny, familiar, forgotten feeling1 came back to me. The wonderful sense of anticipation that follows after you plant something, and the daily ritual that takes place the days after. I go out onto the balcony each morning, always prepared not to be too disappointed if the soil is bare when I look in, but always hopeful that a little sprout might have poked through.

I can’t remember how long my thyme seeds took to sprout last year so I was ready for a bit of a wait. But to my surprise and complete delight, what do you think greeted me just a week after the planting?!

Thyme BabyThyme babies!






Precious thyme babies!

Delighted is really the perfect word to describe how I feel when I see something new grow.¬†I had forgotten this and am very thankful for these little thyme seedlings for the reminder. It’s perhaps no coincidence that of all the seeds I could have sowed, I chose thyme which gave almost instant gratification. If I had chosen parsley, this moment may still be 6 – 8 weeks coming and I would still be a little miserable.

So take heart any readers out there who are looking for a win. Thyme heals all things, and for sure, better thymes are on their way.

‘Til next thyme.

– END –


1Funny, familiar, forgotten feelings is a song written¬†in the 60’s by Mickey Newbury. It was originally¬†recorded by Don Gibson and then by Tom Jones. I know the song because my dad used to sing it around the house all the time. It’s a goodie,¬†and because it’s Friday,¬†I’ve shared good old Tom’s performance here for you to check out!