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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Along (and in between) the Garden Path.

I love paths in the garden. I have been known to make them out of pretty much anything I can use. I bought a cobblestone mould to make my own out of cement and have broken my back rolling a hand mixer to make my path. I have even been known to take ugly plain sidewalk blocks, pick them up, and drop them on top of each other to break them and then put them back down as a broken path. Yes I did it. My next door neighbors drank beer and watched me....and did indeed laugh...until it was finished...and I was the one looked sensational if I do say so myself...

When you go to all the trouble of making a garden path, the last thing you want is to have a million weeds taking over and ruining it. In some cases it looks wonderful to grout it with cement, or gravel, or sand...but not always. There are those times when a girl just needs to have a little life in her path...a sturdy and steppable life.

I credit this post today to a sweet lady that left me this comment a few weeks back:

Lori Bee wrote to me:
"Thanks for all of your great, timely tips! I do have one question for you though. I recently added a very small path in my front planting area (RMS, Where flowers bloom) cut thru to my "goodbye" bench. I wasn't sure how to dress it up or what to plant along the way. I bought some thyme yesterday, hoping it will smell delightful when we step on it. Any other good ideas for me? thanks tons! Lori "

I am so glad you asked me! And I am sorry it has taken me so long to answer you!
Lets' get started....

Baby's Tears-- is a moss-like creeping, light green ground cover that does not usually get much taller than about 3 inches, and is generally lower than that. It is an easily grown plant, that will root from a cutting of a stem and will quickly grow and fill in the cracks between stones. It does need to be watered regularly, but will tolerate lower light levels. It blooms tiny white flowers that are not terribly noticeable, but are there none the less. It is hardy only to 25F this may be a factor to consider in the colder climates...
Chamomile--sports small yellow flowers. It will grow between 3-6 inches tall, but is a slower growing perennial. It does not require a lot of water or care and will do well in full sun. It is however a thick little plant that will choke out any weeds that might decide to invade your path. Check with your garden center for zone conditions and one that is right for your area. Creeping Thyme--my favorite choice. I especially love the Woolly Thyme that I have planted. It makes an almost flat and very dark green filler for the cracks of patios and pathways. It smells fantastic when you step on it and will tolerate many light and water conditions, but will do best with a bit of care. You can get this plant in a variety of colors of bloom, and spreads very quickly.
Mazus--This is a new one for me. I think I like it too! It is known to grow 1-2 inches tall and is very pretty when it blooms. It must be protected by mulch in the colder climates over the winter, and will spread quickly in the spring. It likes to be watered regularly and likes full sun for the most part. The tiny flowers are a purpleish blue, and it will spread easily and is also easily divided and re-rooted.
Snow-in-Summer--this is a 3 inch tall gray colored ground cover that will make an interesting plant for your pathway. It is happy to grow in dry and poor soil conditions, and does not mind the heat that the concrete will reflect to the roots. In early summer tiny white flowers will appear to dress up your path.
Grass--Yes I said grass. I have done my paths here in this yard with grass. In the case of a path that is perfectly flat and level and uniform, you can simply keep the grass mowed down by dropping the blade on the lawn mower and running slowly over the area. If your path is not so perfectly done...use the weed whacker when you do your edges and just trim it up. I am a week whacker now, as the ground heaved a little last year, but one is perfect...and a garden was never meant to be. This is my path in July of this year.
This was just a few detailed descriptions of some of the prettier (or my favorite ones) I had such a LONG post yesterday, that I didn't want to make this one too terribly long. so....Here is a list of others that you may consider checking out in your local garden center...

Creeping Jenny
Veronica Repens
Green Carpet
Lotus Berthelotii
Aubrieta Deltoidea
Sea Pink
Woolly Yarrow.

Keep in mind that these plants are all ground covers and may need to be kept in check. They are low-growing plants that will form a moderate to dense soil cover. Some will grow faster than others, and in the case of the slower ones, you may have some weeds to contend with. All ground covers are valuable plants that help to co-ordinate and finish your matter where you live, or what the conditions you have to offer...there is a ground cover that will be perfect for your path.
So? Which one is your favorite? Are you inspired to make a path? If so job here is done. See you again!
Hope this helped Lori Bee!


Lori Bee said...

This couldn't have come on a better day when I surely need a pick me up...meeting with a surgeon in 2 hours to plan a kidney removal for a family member. I truly appreciate the time, effort and great kindness that went into this post! I will have time at home in the near future to contemplate and plan for my little path. THANK you kindly, I am so touched! Lori

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Tootsie,
Is gardening your hobby or do you have a shop? You work so hard, but you can tell you love it by the photos in your posts. And you have a vast knowledge about anything in your garden. I admire you.


Buffie said...

I love broken pathways too! Mike did ours in the back yard...well I did help some, lol, it looks awesome!

jerseygirl211 said...

My Dear Tootsie......

I just hope that WE ALL 'TAKE THE RIGHT PATH'. ;)



Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

GM sweet Toots, I love paths yours is by far the best one Pictured here.. Hope all is well in your world today...Hugs and smiles to you dear friend...Gloria

Sandra Evertson said...

Lovely place!

imjacobsmom said...

Hi Tootsie,
I've got the garden path along side my garage to the back patio. I've tried creeping thyme and it doesn't come back for me. It's a bit shady there. I've actually got some moss starting to grow! I need to revamp that area this spring with new shrubs. The rabbits chewed my Sandcherries down to nibs and the creeping juniper has had it's day. I can pour over my garden books this winter and maybe we can come up with a good plan together -LOL! Robyn

Unknown said...

I've liked Nature's clipping path.