Friday, January 13, 2012

Down the Garden Path: Part 2

Lost Horizons Nursery, Acton Ontario.

"May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade your every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that is always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through." Old Irish Blessing.

The plan of Larkwhistle Garden from the book The Art of Perennial Gardening by Patrick Lima, 
Photographs by John Scanlan, Published by Firefly Books in 2000. 


If you look at this drawing of Larkwhistle Garden or at the layout for David Tomlinson's garden called Merlin's Hollow, you will notice that the pathways make up the skeleton or framework for each garden. Pathways link each of these gardens into a cohesive whole.

Merlin's Hollow Garden Plan

With a pathway, a gardener channels visitors through a garden. How a garden is viewed is determined, to some degree, by the nature and even the shape of a path. 

Lost Horizons Nursery, Acton Ontario.

You are more likely to motor down a straight path...

Lost Horizons Nursery, Acton Ontario.

than one that twists and turns.

Merlin's Hollow, Aurora Ontario.

How wide should a path be?  


I personally think that the spacing needs to feel comfortable, not claustrophobic. If a pathway is tight, a visitor has to pay too much heed to each footstep and this can distract from all the visual delights along a path's length.

Brain Folmer's Botanical Gardens near Walkerton, Ontario.

So, what about materials? 

Even an ordinary lawn can function as a pathway between plantings.


Pea gravel is a nice option that has a pleasant crunch underfoot.

Larkwhistle Garden, on the Bruce Peninsula.

This garden has a hard-packed combination of sand and very fine gravel.

Private garden, Mississauga, Ontario.

Flagstone is a classic choice. 

(Note here that the gardener here has continued the flagstone onto the lawn and around to the front of the house. In doing so, he saves wear and tear on the grass by directing visitors away from cutting across the lawn.)

Private garden, Mississauga, Ontario.

Stonework is more costly and requires a greater degree of skill to install, but is hard-wearing option 
and it looks incredible doesn't it?

Private garden, Mississauga, Ontario.

Mulch is yet another alternative and is softer underfoot. It also helps to create a nice woodland effect.

Private garden, Mississauga, Ontario.

Of course, you can always combine pathway materials. Here we have mulch combined with flagstone.

Private garden, Mississauga, Ontario.

Pea gravel and flagstone.


Moss and flagstone.

(Deborah of Deb's Garden Blog has written a wonderful post on creating a moss pathway. She has a spectacular woodland garden that you should definitely check out.)

Edwards Gardens, Toronto.

Plantings along a path can be crisp and tidy.

Private garden, Mississauga, Ontario.

Brain Folmer's Botanical Gardens near Walkerton, Ontario.

Or they can be uneven and more natural.

Brain Folmer's Botanical Gardens near Walkerton, Ontario.

In the end, it comes down to the overall look and feeling you are after.

I hope you feel as inspired by these gardens as I do. Have a great weekend!

17 comments:

  1. Jennifer,what a wonderful treat on a dreary January day. A trip to Ontario to visit the Walkerton cousins,Larkwhistle and Lost Horizons is in order. Brian Folmer's and Merlin's Hollow are new to me. Thanks to you.It is so hard to leave ones own garden in summer but your photos have me hatching plans. Thank you.
    Donna

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  2. Oh what beautiful pathways and gardens Jennifer. I would love to have a large garden with pathways to walk through. Alas I only have one small bed with a pathway. All the rest of the beds are around the edges of the property or the house. If I keep expanding them, well maybe someday I will have more paths. LOL!

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  3. Really enjoy this set of posts on walks and paths. Your comparative photographic presentaion and the associated brief description are more valuable and thoughtful to me than many of those in the garden books and magazines that I read.

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  4. It is beautiful to see this large gardens. Can you imagine how difficult it is to make something of a very small garden.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    warm wishes from Holland
    Marijke

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  5. Thanks for your comments everyone. Donna, I hope your plans work out. They are all wonderful gardens! Chen, thanks for the kind words. Lona and Marijke, small gardens can be just as beautiful as these larger ones; a point I will prove in a post coming up shortly.

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  6. Great ideas for pathways so necessary in a garden, even a small garden. I have found either the irregular cut bluestone, formed concrete stepping stones and paver bricks stay cleaner than flag. I love the look of small pea gravel and mulch on informal pathways.

    Eileen

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  7. Wonderful ideas on garden paths. I love all the different choice...so many examples. We have mulch through all our pathways through the big garden. I do like a little harder surface, like the crushed granite.

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  8. My husband and I have been trying to figure out what materials to use for our pathways, and you have given us some great ideas!

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  9. What a wonderful series of images of various garden walkways. I am especially partial to the ones made from stone.

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  10. I have 4 raised beds that are a pain for hubby to mow around, didn't have the fore thought to make them wide enough for the tractor!?
    I wonder if the mulch path would wash away? I find such good ideas here on your blog, Jennifer!
    (how's the little blonde doggy?)

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  11. Just checking to see if I can leave a comment because I haven't been able to for a few days...hooray! it worked! Now I'll read the whole post.

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  12. All these paths look so inviting--both here and on your previous post--I'd love to take a stroll down any one of them and see more of each garden. I especially like the flagstone with the moss or combined with gravel or mulch.

    I've had trouble leaving comments the last few days on blogs with embedded comments, so I've looked at these posts several times--such beautiful images they're worth repeat visits!

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  13. Loved looking at these paths! I'm trying to decide upon the right material for a pathway, and it can be difficult deciding between looks, function, cost, labor, etc. Thanks for the inspirational pics.

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  14. Once again, what a fantastic post. I looked at the initial layout at Larkwhistle and immediately had an idea bounce into my head for my own garden. Love when that happens. Will be saving a few of these photos for my own inspiration folder as there's some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. The only true path in my garden, aside from a grass path between a new bed I dug last fall and an existing bed, is the dog run. I walk it sometimes just to get a different perspective on my garden. It's really effective. I also get to see my garden from the dogs point of view, which is fun. Great post!!

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  16. Beautiful! I absolutely must have paths in my garden, with changes in elevation. A garden must be appreciated from all directions at at all levels.

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