One of the things I did to my garden last year that turned out better than expected was to fill in a garden path with thyme.
This garden path was created for a practical purpose, that of giving me access to that part of the garden. Access was required for a number of reasons, not the least of which was so that I could care for the garden in that area which is probably about 25 feet deep. (Overkill, I know!)
Planting thyme in a lightly-trod area is a great idea. When you tramp back and forth or weed, it releases its lovely aroma for your pleasure. In order to make it interesting, I planted several thymes: Thymus Vulgaris, your standard herb for the kitchen; Mother of Thyme, Wooly Thyme and possibly another. I planted a couple of each, mixed up and well-spaced, just off to the side of the stepping stones on either side. I intended that they gradually spread and creep in between the stones, eventually creating a sort of patchy carpeted effect (hopefully suppressing some weeds one day).
Unexpectedly, last winter was mild. The delightful and unplanned result of this planting was that, even through the dead of winter, I had fresh thyme in my kitchen. This pathway is conveniently close to an easy exterior access from the kitchen, and it crept and spread under the snow even in early spring. It was easy enough to find the herbs on a moment’s notice in this sheltered location near the house. For an Ontario gardener to eat anything from the garden in mid-winter is an absolute delight!
Planting between the stepping stones on a pathway adds another dimension to a garden, as well as texture and interest at all levels of viewing. It can cover ground that weeds would otherwise claim.
I expected the afternoon sun in my pathway. However, if your pathway is shaded you can use mosses for a similar effect, but without the aroma. In the second garden above, newly installed and not at all grown in, I planted various mosses at the pathway’s edge. I used a variety of mosses of different colours, including Sagina Subulata, Golden Scotch Moss and Irish Moss, a dark green, shaggy moss, for their contrasting colours.
A garden can include vistas and close-ups. A pathway invites a closer look, so add interest to your walk from the ground up.
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