Thursday, July 28, 2011
ADD INTEREST TO YOUR GARDEN PATHS
Your garden pathway visually and functionally directs viewers through your garden. Adding plant interest here and there along the way helps to integrate the pathway hardscape with the plants in the garden. If you have an area in your garden that has a path or sitting area that is comprised of stone, brick or some other material that is not held in place with mortar, you can leave gaps between your paving material in which to have low-growing groundcovers. Most of the plants you will use should be creepers that spread easily. These low-growing plants work equally well in “stones with holes”, stepping-stones with an interior space made specifically for this purpose.
Here are some good pathway plants for our growing area.
Sweet Alyssum Lobularia maritima
Moss Rose Portulaca grandiflora
All Thymes, especially Creeping and Common
Johnny Jump Ups Viola cornuta
Star Cushion Dianthus gratianopolitanus
Creeping Speedwell Veronica repens
Creeping Jenny Lysimachia nummularia
Chocolate Chip Bugleweed Ajuga reptans
Pennyroyal Hedeoma pulegoides
Black Mondo Grass Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrescens
My favorite for planting in and among walkways is Dichondra micrantha. You may even have one of its trailing cousins, Dichondra Emerald or Silver Falls, growing in one of your container plantings. Dichondra is a warm season ground cover that grows close to the ground. It has broad, almost circular leaves and when clipped low establishes a thick dense carpet. Originally a weed, it is now used in many ground cover situations where normal grasses may not do as well. It has a bright green color with a cushiony feel underfoot. It takes foot traffic better than most of the “stepable” types of plants. The tiny lily pad-shaped leaves are as exquisite to look at, as they are easy to care for. Happy in sun or part shade, this plant reaches just 1 to 2 inches high, remaining neat all year. It spreads readily, with one pound of seed covering 1,000 square feet. The foliage ranges from 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch across, with larger leaves serving as a base for smaller and new foliage. In our area Dichondra is an annual though in warmer areas it performs as a perennial. This is not an issue as it is easily started from seed.
Here's a good source for seed:
1. Park Seed Company