Down The Southern Side Path

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)-8

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) Along The Southern Path May 21, 2013

A small blue slate path hugs the left side of my house, guiding visitors as they walk toward the main garden in back. Irregularly-shaped stones are laid to create a gently curving meander. By necessity, the path slopes downward slightly before turning right and leading through a white picket gate.

I like to think the spacing, curving and sloping of the narrow pathway give reason not only to watch one’s step, but also to slow one’s pace and to look around. In this way garden guests are invited to make a calming transition from public space to private sanctuary.

Plantings Near The Southern Side

Plantings Near The Southern Side

Marking the spot just before the path begins are a few shrubs (winterberry holly, juniper and sky pencil holly) that are interplanted with creeping moss phlox, daffodil bulbs and muscari, echinacea and canna.

The path exists in the narrow strip between my house and another, with the neighbors’ air conditioning units and utility boxes all plainly visible.

These unwanted borrowed views crop up frustratingly often when I photograph plants along the path, but they are less obtrusive than one might think when actually using the path. That is because one’s eyes tend to gaze downward and be held just a few steps ahead. Traveling down the path one is invited to explore and and enjoy the plants on either side.

As visitors step from the grass onto the first blue stone they may notice ginger lily on the left, lavender on the right.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Continuing down the path they may pause briefly before stepping around the plants spilling out into the path. Some years the walkway is dominated by Lamb’s Ears. In other years cleome or zinnia are featured. Usually the plants themselves choose.

Cleome has self-seeded and is growing along the path and in-between stones. but for now this is the year of Rose Campion, both white and red.

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Midway down on the right is a large clump of yellow iris that bloomed magnificently early this spring.

On the same side further down the path beebalm, Russian sage, black and blue salvia and a rather cramped pink muhly grass are all growing. On the left is artemisia, flax and baptisia. Follow the path down.

At the end on the right just before the path turns to go into the garden a Jackmanii clematis stands as sentinel. This view was taken a few weeks ago and now Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ has grown to fill the corner behind the clematis.

Southern Side Path

Jackmanii Clematis

The garden is open…

17 thoughts on “Down The Southern Side Path

  1. Christina

    I love the idea of making visitors slow down as they enter the garden. This was done in Renaissance gardens by placing a statue that meant festina Lente which means hasten slowly. Christina

  2. Pauline

    Such lovely interesting planting along your path, and how clever to distract your visitors eyes from next doors utilities! Lychnis coronaria is such a pretty plant, it doesn’t really like my heavy clay, I have to keep sowing more seed to keep it in the garden

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Pauline, I pulled out dozens of Lamb’s Ears that had just taken over last year. Before I could even think about what else to plant instead the Rose Campion had covered everything. I started the white ones from seed many years ago and have never had to replace them. The red ones are new since last year.

  3. Cathy

    Love this pathway Susie – with the gateway at the end too. Those rose campions are worth their weight in gold. Mine have spread everywhere too, but are yet to flower. All looks so pretty!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks so much Cathy! What do you use as companion plants? Mine have just taken over an entire section of that path and they’re nice for a while until some of the flowers start going to seed. Sometimes I cut them back halfway and “sometimes” they bloom again. Susie

      1. Cathy

        Yes, if it’s not too hot and dry mine keep flowering intermittently. I have them in between my poppies and Heuchera, then later the Salvia, Veronica and Asters take over, but my planting is very disorganised! I will try cutting a few back this year.

  4. bittster

    Looks great, I love all the rose campions. Sometimes it’s hard to walk the line between collecting a few of everything and having enough of one good thing to give that feeling of abundance in the garden. I think you’ve got it! and I like how you change from one year to another, zinnias… lambs ears…. cleome

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. It is always a challenge how to stoke the right balance and often The plants control me, rather than the other way around. Susie

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks, hope you find some white ones to try. For a few years my red one had died out and the white alone didn’t have the same exuberance.Susie


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