Meandering pathways that lead from one area to another are a key part of my Gulf Coast garden aesthetic. It has taken me several years to remove all the lawn in the front and side gardens and replace it with lushly planted garden beds, groundcovers and pathways.
I define these pathways with durable edging plants that complement the overall garden design and cater to each area's specific micro-climate.
Edging plants along pathways are also an essential unifying element for the naturalistic feel I'm creating in my garden. I typically choose one sturdy variety to encompass entire sections of the garden.
Repeating the same plant along the edge provides cohesiveness and allows me the freedom to mix and vary the background plants. For most of my pathways I select low-maintenance varieties that don't mind occasional summer droughts or winter frosts.
I planted the particularly hardworking variegated flax lily (Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata') inside the perimeter of the front-garden pathway. Performing well in full sun or shade, flax lily can take the abuse of our Gulf Coast summers and winters, and has few pest problems. Even though browning leaves require some pruning at bloom's end in early spring, flax lily offers maximum return for minimal effort. Removing spent leaves is an easy task, especially considering how little work this plant requires throughout the year.
In my back garden I've repeated variegated Liriope (Liriope muscari 'Variegata') or Aztec grass along the edge of my circular pathway. Liriope is one of those simple but durable grasslike plants that survive on very little water and breeze through our winters without damage. Its light-green color contrasts with darker-hue foliage behind it, adding to the diversity of the garden.
Occasionally I take the liberty of mixing edging plants--like along my curving tropical pathway. This area provides an abundance of shade, which helps the ground hold moisture and allows me to plant tightly together. I've opted for varying heights and textures, using oodles of bromeliads, ferns, walking irises and Spathiphyllum, as well as large-leaf begonias, bananas and crinums to create the edges of this favorite garden pathway.
Please follow the video link to see more of the plants along my garden pathways.