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.
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.
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.
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.
The garden is open…