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Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 36: Plants for Pathways

Options for in the cracks and along the edges

Most gardeners have some sort of pathway in their landscape. Planting along that walkway—or even in it—can be a challenge. In this episode we discuss low-profile plants that can truly take being stepped on and even run over by the lawnmower. But, we also offer options for plants that form polite, petite mounds, making them perfect for planting along the edges of a walkway. These guys are the ideal candidates for softening up the lines of a path, but without getting too messy and sprawling into the transit route.  The episode is rounded out with a guest appearance by  garden designer Riz Reyes who provides some super unique plant picks, many of which you may never have heard of.

 

Expert testimony: Riz Reyes, garden designer in Seattle, Washington.

 

 

Last year Steve photographed an incredible garden in Minnesota, designed by Frank Fitzgerald. There he saw ‘Chocolate Chip’ ajuga (Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’, Zones 4-9) used in a unique checkerboard pathway.

Masterwort (Astrantia major and cvs., Zones 4-7) makes perfect, tight mounds that are 1 to 2 feet tall and wide. Its compact habit makes it an ideal candidate for along a pathway. Be warned: reseeding can be an issue in some areas.

An oldie but goodie, mazus (Mazus reptans, Zones 5-8) is an adorable groundcover that gets covered in tiny purple, snapdragon-like flowers in spring. It’s so tough it can even withstand getting trampled  by kids, pets, or a spouse who should know better.

If you have crappy soil where nothing else can grow, try donkeytail spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites, Zones 5-8). It thrives in lean soils, is incredibly drought tolerant, and gets cheerful yellow blooms in spring that pollinators go nuts over.

 

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