Updated July 2011  


Brickell Award 2011

I am delighted to announce that I am the 2011 recipient of the Brickell Award, Plant Heritage's most prestigious award for Excellence in Cultivated Plant Conservation, presented annually at the Hampton Court Flower Show in recognition of outstanding work being undertaken by a National Plant Collection Holder with Scientific Status. (July 2011)

Christopher Brickell

The Award

Alan Titchmarsh

Presentation by Christopher Brickell

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Alan Titchmarsh, President, Plant Heritage

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To view Press Release, click Press Release

Hertfordshire Life May 2011

My Thymus Collection and garden were featured in an article about three Harpenden residents in the May edition of Hertfordshire Life, The Wonderful World of Harpenden. .(June 2011)

The Big Book of Thyme

The Big Book of Thyme was published by Owl Prints as an e-book at the end of August 2010, downloadable in 6 parts.  It is currently available as part of the NORL subscription from NOS 
(New Ornamentals Society). (September 2010)

For details, click Owl Prints

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Website Update

After two and a half years research and the publication of two of the three books, I am now in the process of updating the website to reflect the name changes resulting from my research.  Most of the articles have been rewritten and the old Plant Heritage articles have been moved to an archive section for reference.  Plant Portraits is in the process of being updated.  (April 2010)

International Thymus Register and Checklist

The International Thymus Register and Checklist was published by Owl Prints in December 2009.  I am very grateful to the Finnis Scott Foundation for their financial support which has enabled me to publish this book.  It can be obtained by mail order from myself for £8.50 plus postage.  (December 2009)

To order from Owl Prints, click 


International Thymus Register and Checklist

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The Thyme Handbook

The Thyme Handbook was published by Plant Heritage in July 2009 and was on sale in the Heritage Marquee at Hampton Court Flower Show.  It can be obtained by mail order via the Plant Heritage website, or from myself, price £9.50 plus postage.  (July 2009)

To order from LW Plants, click 


To view sample pages from The Thyme Handbook, click 


Thyme Handbook

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Time for Thyme June 2009

My Thymus Collection was featured in the June edition of herbs, the journal of the Herb Society.

The Garden April 2009

Plant Heritage has identified a Top 10 list of genera which are not yet included in the National Plant Collection® scheme and is appealing for gardeners interested in becoming a Collection Holder.  The article in the General News section in the journal of the RHS, Plant Loss Warning, featured my 3 Collections as an example of Collections held by a gardener; not all Collection Holders are Botanic or public gardens!

International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA)

The ISHS Commission for Nomenclature and Cultivar Registration has appointed me as International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) for Thymus.  This will be provisional until the publication of the Thymus booklet, scheduled for summer 2009, which will include the necessary check list of cultivars.

For more information on the ISHS, click 


 .  (November 2007)

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine

Thymus 'Marjorie' was one of the 7 new plants featured in the August edition of BBC Gardeners' World Magazine in that month's New Plants article. (September 2007)

Thymus 'Marjorie' launched at 2007 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

This new thyme was named for my mother Marjorie, my gardening inspiration since childhood.  It was a chance seedling in the thyme beds in 1995, with dark green highly aromatic foliage and proper pink flowers, unlike the pale mauve of common thyme.  The plant grew well and received favourable comments from garden visitors.  It has been undergoing trials by R.A. Meredith, the new plants division of Blooms of Bressingham and will be available from 2007 as a licenced plant.  Thymus 'Marjorie' is an ideal thyme for the small garden to grow on the patio, to look decorative and smell good, but also near the kitchen door, where it is easily available for culinary use.  It was great to have my plant launched at the Chelsea Flower Show, together with all the other new introductions.  It featured on the Blooms of Bressingham stand and was one of the Celebrity Guests on the Hardy Plant Society stand staged by the Hertfordshire Group of HPS, of which I am a founder member.  This display celebrated the 50th birthday of the HPS, the Celebrity Guests being plants raised or introduced by HPS members. (May 2007)

Thymus 'Marjorie' Thymus 'Marjorie'
Thymus 'Marjorie' on the Hardy Plant Society display
Thymus 'Marjorie' on Blooms of Bressingham display 
(third paving slab on the left)

RHS Bursary

I have now received confirmation of the RHS Bursary awarded to me to enable Dr. Madan Thangavelu to carry out the Bushy Thyme DNA Study.  This will enable us to repeat the Golden Thyme DNA Study with a much larger number of samples, as well as the other bushy species and cultivars. (May 2007)

Chinese Academy of Forestry and Beijing Forestry University

In August 2006 I was delighted to be invited by Professor Jiang Chunqian of the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF), Beijing, to advise on their project to introduce Thymus species and cultivars to China.  I gave three Powerpoint presentations, on Thymus in the wild, my work on nomenclature and the third on species and cultivars, two presentations at the Chinese Academy of Forestry and one at the Beijing Forestry University.

In addition to my work at the University for the Thymus project, I was also taken on visits to The Great Wall at Badaling, Tian'An Men Square and The Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Botanical Gardens and it was great to learn more about Chinese culture.  Dr. Zhao Huien of Beijing Forestry University took me on a field trip to Shui Mu Gong, the forest park outside Zhang Jiakou, a city four hours drive north west of Beijing, where Thymus mongolicus grows and we found several colonies of this species growing on the hillsides.  I had a wonderful time in Beijing and I look forward to working with my colleagues at the University and helping them with their Thymus project. (August 2006)

In December I gave a Powerpoint presentation to my Herts & Beds NCCPG group entitled 'Thyme in Beijing', using the photographs I took in Beijing and on the field trip to Shui Mu Gong.  A modified slideshow of this presentation is now available on this website.


 Thyme in Beijing 

  to view.  (January 2007)

DNA Study Funding

I am delighted to announce that I have been awarded a grant from the John Spedan Lewis Foundation (established in memory of the founder of the John Lewis Partnership).  This will enable my colleague Dr. Madan Thangavelu of the Medical Research Council Cambridge, to carry out the proposed Creeping Thyme DNA Study to determine the relationship between the two species of creeping thyme.  We are very grateful for their support for this very important study. (August 2006)

Horticulture Week 18 May 2006

In May 2006 Horticulture Week reported on my Much Ado About Naming article, in the news section, pointing out that gardeners are being let down by the practice of renaming of plants.  (June 2006)

Much Ado About Naming

Just before Christmas 2005 I was contacted by my Dutch nurseryman friend, Roger Bastin, who told me that the thyme previously known as Thymus citriodorus 'Villa Nova' was in fact T. citriodorus 'Golden King'.  Instead of writing a short sentence in my catalogue to correct the name, I decided to publish an article in Plant Heritage highlighting the problems faced by gardeners who inadvertently buy plants they already have, because nurserymen have renamed them.  I consulted various colleagues and Much Ado About Naming is the result.  (May 2006)

Growing Heritage Conference

In April 2006 I attended the Growing Heritage Conference organised jointly by the RHS and NCCPG.  The Action Plan on Cultivated Plant Conservation was launched at the Hampton Court Flower Show.

Click   Growing Heritage    to go to the website, then click on Action Plan to view it.  (July 2006)

Harpenden in Bloom 2005

In July 2005 LW Plants was awarded Third Prize in the Harpenden in Bloom  Best Commercial Section Floral Display Competition.  First Prize was awarded to Rothamsted Research and Second Prize to BUPA Hospital, Harpenden; worthy corporate bodies to compete against, so I was very pleased with this award.  I was judged on my Thymus display beds.  Harpenden usually does very well in the Anglia in Bloom competition.  (July 2005)

Brickell Award 2005

I was one of five short listed for the prestigious Brickell Award, the highest award for excellence made to Scientific Status National Plant Collection® holders.  The result was announced at the Hampton Court Flower Show at the beginning of July and Sylvia Norton was the winner with her Lathyrus Collection.  The judging was very close and the panel were most impressed with my work on nomenclature.  (July 2005)

Hikkaduwa District Fund Garden Open Weekend

The garden opened for the weekend of the 16th and 17th July in aid of the Tsunami appeal for Sri Lanka.

Additional donations are very welcome.  If anyone wishes to contribute, cheques should be made payable to the Hikkaduwa District Fund.

Funds raised are for school rebuilding in the Hikkaduwa district of Sri Lanka, which is the home area of my sister-in-law.  Her father is a fisherman. She is the first member of her family to go to university and met my brother when he was teaching in Colombo.

On Boxing Day her parents were washed out to sea and washed back again.  She was fortunate in that none of her immediate family were lost.  The house was demolished and her parents lost all their possessions.  My brother and family were actually in Hikkaduwa for their Christmas holiday when the tsunami hit the area, they saw the wave coming and ran to the safety of a hotel from where they watched in horror as it wreaked havoc.  The area around Hikkaduwa was badly devastated and we are raising funds specifically for reconstruction in this area.  My brother has contacts locally to whom all funds raised will be sent direct, so that it reaches the intended beneficiaries.  Sadly Sri Lankan bureaucracy is hampering much of the reconstruction in the country.  (July 2005)

Capel Manor Spring Gardening Show 2005

I exhibited at the Spring Gardening Show at Capel Manor Gardens with a Scientific /Educational Display of Thymus and Satureja. The display was awarded a Second Prize, equivalent to a Silver Gilt award.  Capel Manor College is at Enfield, Middlesex.  (April 2005)

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Second Prize Display at Capel Manor 2005  (click on picture to see more.)
Warning: These three pictures may take some time to download

Snowdonia Thyme

2005 sees the launch of the final group of thymes which I collected in Snowdonia in 2000.  Permission was granted for these thymes to be released to the trade on condition that the locations are not divulged.  These thymes are currently only available in small quantities, so please be patient while I bulk them up.  There are some really superb varieties amongst them and they are definitely worth waiting for.  It was an interesting exercise giving suitable names to them all. (March 2005)

Scientific Status

In August 2004 my National Plant Collection® of Thymus was granted Scientific Status by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG).  This recognises the work I have done, particularly in nomenclature.  Scientific status will give me the authority I need when contacting botanic gardens and other institutions. (March 2005)

Belmont House and Gardens, Kent

I have been involved in the project to develop the old kitchen garden at Belmont House near Faversham, Kent, designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd.  I was asked to supply thymes for the mandala design which is part of this imaginative project.  There are 27 different thymes, mostly bushy varieties and the final consignment will be planted in 2005, a total of more than 1000 plants.  The garden was featured in the June 2004 edition of Gardens Illustrated.  (March 2005)

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Belmont Gardens: part of mandala.  (click on picture to see more.)
Warning: There are three large pictures which may take some time to download

Pendley Manor Flower Show 2004

At the end of July I exhibited at the Pendley Manor Flower Show at Tring, Herts and was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal for my display of Thymus and Satureja.  I have decided that apart from the Capel Manor Spring Show, I will exhibit under Floral Rules rather than Educational/Scientific.  Although it involves more work in preparing considerably more plants, judges tend to be more generous in their award of medals. (March 2005)

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Silver Gilt Medal Display at Pendley Manor Flower Show, 2004
(click on picture to see larger version)

Capel Manor Spring Show 2003

I exhibited at the Capel Manor Spring Show for the first time in 2003 and was awarded Third Prize. Unlike other flower shows, the nurseries compete against each other and not everyone wins a prize.  I was delighted with the result, considering that thyme is not in flower in early April and is only just starting its spring growth. (March 2005)

Gardeners' World Magazine

My website was featured as website of the month in the October 2002 edition of BBC Gardeners' World Magazine which was complimentary both of my site and of Graham Walters' Thymus Information Page. (September 2002)

East Anglian Garden and Flower Show 2002

I was delighted to be awarded a Gold Medal for my Thymus display at the East Anglian Garden and Flower Show held at Bourn near Cambridge at the end of June 2002.  I have been showing Thymes from my collection since 1995 and more recently have included information about the research in which I have been engaged and the display is judged on Educational/Scientific Rules.  The reward was well worth the amount of work involved in the preparation of the plants. (September 2002)

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Gold Medal Display at East Anglian Garden and Flower Show, 2002
(click on picture to see larger version)

RHS Wisley Trials 1999-2001

Award of Garden Merit was awarded to Helianthus 'Gullick's Variety' and Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' submitted by LW Plants. (May 2002)

National Plant Collections ®

In February 2001 my collections of Hyssopus and Satureja were granted Full Status by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG).  These National Plant Collections® link in well with the Thymus Collection and Satureja and will be used in the DNA studies of Thymus.  The dividing lines between the genera are open to debate and the DNA studies will help to resolve this.  (February 2001)

Acquisitions 2000-2001

In the summer of 2001 I acquired some new German cultivars and when these have been bulked up they will be added to the catalogue list. (January 2002)

During the summer of 2000 we visited the National Collection Holder in the Netherlands at Brunssum, near Maastricht and exchanged plants.
I have also acquired more specimens from the wild, from Snowdonia, with permission from the Countryside Council for Wales and in the autumn I collected from our local areas of the Chilterns, around Whipsnade, Dunstable, Luton, Sharpenhoe, etc. with permission from English Nature.
We visited the widow of the third National Collection holder in Yorkshire and she gave me some plants from his collection.  (February 2001)

Changes to site contents

New addition to Nomenclature Thymus Cultivars Update: 2008, has formed a third part to a new section 'New Cultivar Names'. Articles  T.Coccineus Major and T. s. 'Minimalist' , and  T. 'Alan Bloom' moved from Coccineus Group to this new section.  (October 2008)
Addition of Creeping Thyme section including 32 pictures, modification of Nomenclature: first 2 sections,
20 plant portraits descriptions added. (May 2007)
Addition of Thyme in the Wild: Holy Island with 12 pictures, 
Enlargement of Breckland (16 pictures) and Snowdonia (4 pictures) sections.
Additions to plant portraits with 43 new pictures (February 2007)
Reproduction of 'Thyme in Beijing'  Presentation as self contained 'slide-show of 132 pictures.  (Janiuary 2007)
Addition of Thyme in the Wild: China with 6 pictures.
Addition of section on Propagation in Thyme in the Garden.  (October 2006)
Addition of 'Much Ado About Naming' article in Nomenclature section.
Addition of a further 30 Plant Portrait descriptions and 25 pictures.  (June 2006)
Addition of Garden Open weekend.  (June 2005)
Addition of Thymus citriodorus article in Nomenclature, continuation of addition of further text for Plant Portraits,
Thyme in the Wild: addition of three areas; The Chilterns, Hadrian's Wall, Europe; addition of 8 pictures with modification of text for Breckland, additional 5 pictures and text for Malham (now 6) and Ingleton (now 5) resulting in separation of these areas,  pictures in Malham, Ingleton and Snowdonia replaced by re-scanned versions from the original slides  (May 2005)
Sections on Satureja and Hyssopus added.  Beginning of addition of text to Plant Portraits.  Synonyms list updated.  Comments form added. (April 2005)
Snowdonia section added,  Breckland section amended, Growing Thymes in the Garden enlarged,
Species and Cultivar lists updated, Articles added to T. Coccineus Group section,
Garden description reordered and photographs added, Belmont House & Garden photographs added (March 2005)
Additions made (February/March 2005) to Plant portraits introduced (March 2003)
Nomenclature: List of Synonyms added (January 2002)
Article on Thymus Coccineus Group (published in Plant Heritage) added (November 2001)
Thymes in the Garden:  Lists of Species and Cultivars added (January 2002)
Thyme in the wild: an introductory paragraph has been added. (August 2001)