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Mid-Atlantic Gardening: Three Favorite Edging Plants

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Meet three great plants--white alpine strawberries, Zahara Cherry zinnia, and chives--that are well-suited for growing along the edges of planting beds.

a round bed in the backyard, with white alpine strawberry, Double Zahara Cherry zinnia, and chives

By Cynthia "Meems" Glover

Every gardener plays favorites, to some extent. To edge a round bed in the backyard, I called on a few of mine: white alpine strawberry, Double Zahara Cherry zinnia, and chives. These plants don't grow too tall and feature spreading or mounded growth habits that are ideal for skirting a raised bed.

White Alpine Strawberry

Like its full-size strawberry cousins, white alpine strawberry spreads by runners. The plants are perennials, appearing each year in early spring.

white alpine strawberry

Notice how small the patch is. The photo at the top of the blog shows the same patch 12 weeks later. This plant definitely yields starts to share--or compost.

salad with strawberries

Plants bear small white, sweet berries. I use them to flavor early-season salads featuring spinach, leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, watercress, chive blossoms and arugula.

The strawberry plants are frequently nibbled in early spring, since they're some of the first green plants out. I cover the plants with black netting most of the growing season--early to protect from hungry bunnies and deer, later to keep birds away from berries. You can see the netting over the plants in the video below.



Chives, on the other hand, aren't nibbled by any critters. Both deer and rabbits leave this perennial herb alone in my garden.


After flowering, the plants tend to flop and look bedraggled. When I remove spent blooms I also snip leaves to about 3 inches.


The initial effect looks somewhat ragged, as clipped stems elongate and tips turn brown.

brown-tipped leaves.

Eventually new growth obscures the brown-tipped leaves.

Double Zahara Cherry Zinnia

Double Zahara Cherry Zinnia
The third edging plant I tuck into this bed is annual Double Zahara Cherry zinnia.

Double Zahara Cherry Zinnia

It unfurls double vibrant-pink blooms all season long. Best of all, plants don't need deadheading. Flowers fade out, turn brown and eventually disappear.

Strawberries are running rampant, zinnias are flowering profusely,

This view shows the bed on August 26. Strawberries are running rampant, zinnias are flowering profusely, and chives have fresh growth.

Look beyond traditional groundcovers when you need an edging plant. Low-growing herbs, annuals and fruit-bearing plants offer eye-catching alternatives.

See more Mid-Atlantic gardening articles.