By Jodi Torpey
Almost every pathway in my garden is made with natural materials. Pine straw or bark walkways creates a porous surface, which allows rainwater to seep into the ground and reduces storm water runoff. Since Florida's drinking water comes from an aquifer, the way we maintain our home gardens directly affects our groundwater supply.
Evergreen options for borders and edges along the pathways are practically endless. Asiatic jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum), which isn't a true jasmine, is one I've repeated throughout my garden for many reasons. It is simply an easy-maintenance, drought-tolerant, low-lying evergreen groundcover that does well all along the Gulf Coast region.
The thick, glossy leaves borne on thin stems intertwine into a dense mat thick enough to keep most weeds at bay. Asiatic jasmine is easily shaped into either a curving border or trimmed to a straight edge. This is particularly convenient when a neat edge is necessary; specifically along the driveway in my front garden.
Asiatic jasmine also hugs the ground beneath an East Palatka holly tree, bordering a brick patio adjoined to the pool deck. Paver steps extend the way to the back gardens.
The circle garden was created as the central hub of the back gardens. I've used Asiatic jasmine here also--planted to form the circle. From this point several pathways guide footsteps in various directions through the rest of the gardens.
Flagstone steps, with dark-green tufts of dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicas 'Nana') planted in between, meander through the perennial garden. In an open space where grass is not needed or perhaps refuses to grow, Asiatic jasmine makes a perfect substitute. It is a fairly slow grower but worth the wait; plant 8 inches apart.
Please see my accompanying video for a view of the uses of these groundcovers, as well as featured plants of variegated schefflera, bromeliads, coleus, ferns and impatiens bordering pathways.
Do you have some tried-and-true plants you use as edging plants for pathways and hardscapes?
See more Gulf Coast gardening articles.