Hi folks -- I just put down some paving stones in my garden yesterday to
make a pathway for ease of weeding, etc. I'd like to plant some very
low-growing ground cover as a fill in between the stones to give it that old
English garden path feel. I live in the Washington DC area, zone 7; the
area in which I placed the stones gets full sun for a big part of the day
from late summer to early fall, and very little full sun in spring and fall.
Something with small flowers would be nice... any ideas for me? Thanks in
Without doubt the Thymes would be ideal. They would thrive in your
conditions and withstand being walked on. They give off a very pleasant
aroma and can be purchased in differing colours and scents. Replace every
few years when they become straggly. Divide and plant in the spring. Best
you can encourage moss by creating an acidic environment. One thing
you can do to help innoculate the area is to make a moss milkshake.
Find some moss growing in similar conditions (the full sun) where you
are allowed to collect it (or noone will care... like an uncarred
for parking lot) and mix it with buttermilk in a blender. (find a used
one if you don't want to use the "food" one.) Paint this slurry onto
the areas you want to become mossy, and keep lightly misted until the
moss takes hold.
Mind this doesn't give you flowers...
how about creeping (Thymus serpyllum) or wooly (T. pseudolanginosus)?
do a google search for thyme for more info.
(http://renshaw.best.vwh.net/garden/plantlistthyme.html looks like a
Verso l'esterno! Verso l'esterno! Deamons di ignoranza.
Many people are apt to recommend Thymes, & there are many varieties, &
worth a try. You could even use multiple types of dwarf thymes, as some
are so different from one another they could make quite an interesting
texture shifting one variety into another into another. However, I suspect
thymes will turn black & ugly in winter, & not bounce back quickly in
spring without direct sunlight at that time.
A real winner that is genuinely "stepable" is Irish Moss (deep green) or
Scotch Moss (yellow green). This likes full sun but won't get ugly if sun
doesn't hit it directly all year round. It's fully evergreen right through
winter without interuption. It has tiny white flowers early in the year,
but mainly it imitates moss & is grown because of this close resemblance.
Wherever it is NOT stepped on, it might mound up a bit too high, so needs
to be planted below the level of the pavers. It spreads rapidly. It can
encroach over the surface of stones eventually devouring them, but is
easily stripped & cut off at the edge of the pavers every other year. It
does well with regular watering, but is also suprisingly drought hardy. It
can be bought in flat trays to "cut out" into the shapes desired to fit
right where you want them, but even if you just plant a bit between pavers
here & there, it soon takes up all the area it is provided.
For the look of a mossy pavered pathway it's unbeatable. If it has any
drawback (which it shares with thyme) it is that such short-short
groundcovers don't really suppress weeds all that well. Rather, they can
themselves be a moss-like medium for weed seeds to get started.
True mosses are usually more difficult to get started especially in spots
that get direct sun part of the year. There do exist full-sun mosses but
these tend to be less pretty ones that stay a quarter-inch tall or
smaller; the beautiful fluffy mosses mostly want damp shade. The Irish
Moss looks like moss but with the bonus of tiny whtie flowers mosses lack
& very hardy under a variety of conditions. If some of the area along the
path you've made ARE shadier, you should look at "Club Moss" which is a
true primitive moss of unusual beauty & just about the only moss widely
cultivated to sell in garden shops. It wouldn't like being stepped on or
to be out in the sun, but it blends well with scotch moss if you want the
green groundcover to extend away from a path into shade underneath
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
I've got more of a stepping stone area that I started this year. It
gets afternoon sun, but most of the plants didn't go in until June.
Some of the things I tried:
Woolly Veronica - Ended up more in shade from seating area. Still
there, hoping it spreads a little next year.
Pink Nancy lamium - Was supposed to be White Nancy. Spreading nicely,
but covers everything in its path. Pink flowers late summer.
Sedum sarmentosum - Plucked this out of my uncle's lawn. Died back in
traffic (large dog) and grassy areas. Spreading very nicely under the
(young) weeping willow. Yellow star flowers in spring.
Creeping baby's breath - Supposed to be pink, was white instead.
Bloomed all summer, spreading decently, covers stones. Not sure about
traffic, is fairly protected so far.
Common purslane - Nice jade-looking weed, but it died back after it bloomed.
Kentucky Blue Grass - I sprinkled some of this between the stones
because I got tired of all the dirt. Just raked up the dirt a little
before seeding, no real prep. Most germinated, looks pretty good where
it took. Couple patches yellowed and died back in August. The grass
wiped out the sedum where it grew thickly.
One more plant I definitely want to try near the seating area next year
is Corsican mint. Very cool scent, is a tiny little mint that should
take light traffic.
One thing I did realize is you need a lot of plants because nothing
really started spreading until late. But we had cooler weather than
normal this summer. If you can get seeds of whatever you decide on,
you'll get a finished look quicker.
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