Spiral Vision

I’ve never drawn formal garden plans. But I have an old sketch scrawled on a yellow legal pad of a spiral that borders my garden. I wasn’t sure how it would materialize, but the inchoate thought was implanted in my mind. After many years, I had the epiphany that I wanted the spiral to be a dry riverbed. Inspired by how my friends Pilo and Patrice used thyme in two distinct ways. I concluded that the thyme could be juxtaposed with the river rocks to unify the spiral with the rest of the garden. 
However, the pursuit of finding the right thyme took longer than anticipated. Sometimes, my single-mindedness gets the better of my friends and me. Last year, my friend Susan drove me to five different nurseries to find pink chintz thyme. I didn’t want wooly thyme or Reiter or some of the other cultivars. It had to be pink chintz! It’s low to the ground and spreads widely. 

We drove to Newman’s Nursery at the outskirts of Santa Fe and all the thyme there was spoken for. The flats had big fluorescent orange tags with “SOLD” emblazoned on them. She then drove to Plants of the Southwest. To my dismay, there was no pink chintz. We drove down the street to Agua Fria Nursery, which has a large area dedicated to thyme, but the grail was elusive. We got back in the car. The air was dry and I could taste the dust in my mouth. I was on the verge of giving up. But Santa Fe is not a metropolis, so Susan schlepped me to Payne’s Nursery whose thyme selection was more limited. I was ready to cry uncle when she insisted that we go to Santa Fe Greenhouses. Not only did they have pink chintz thyme, it was 25% off! 

First, I dug the template for the dry river bed. The wisteria in the corner is just starting to leaf out.

Next, I laid down some landscaping cloth and placed the rocks over it. The wisteria has grown some more. 

Continuing with the rock placement. My dog, Aster thought the spiral was her own personal agility course and I'm still working on realigning the rocks she knocked out of place. Also planted thyme last summer that's wintered over and has started to spread out. It's still a work in progress, but onward I go. 


  1. Looks like it is going to be really nice. Can't wait to see the finished project.
    Goldenray Yorkies

  2. can't wait to see it full of thyme! Inspiring!- Tanya

  3. I can't wait either. Hope the water drains the way it's supposed to.

  4. It wil be a wonderful feature in the grden, already lookng great.

  5. I love the thought of a dog running a spiral. :) (But hopefully she will also get bored with it soon!)

  6. Beautiful! FWIW, trips to the garden shops tend to be a real highlight of our visits to Santa Fe. We live on the Front Range in Northern Colorado, and many of the plants sold for Santa Fe work very well here.

  7. @Stacy - Aster uses the spiral as a springboard to jump on the retaining wall. She thinks she's a cat.

  8. @Patricia - I love the nurseries in Santa Fe. It took me a while to discover native plants, but they seem to work the best for me and it sounds like they work great for you, too.


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