In a large pot, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until it's crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside, leaving the bacon grease in the pot.
Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the pot with the bacon grease. Sauté them until the onion is translucent and fragrant.
Stir in the frozen corn kernels and diced potatoes, cooking for a few minutes until they start to soften.
Pour in the chicken broth and add the dried thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup. You want it to be creamy but still have some texture
Pour in the heavy cream and add most of the cooked bacon, reserving some for garnish. Stir everything together and let it simmer for a few more minutes.
Season the chowder with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the chowder into bowls, garnish with reserved bacon and fresh chives if desired.