When I began learning about garden design, I became intrigued with paths – no – make that obsessed. Maybe it dates back to my childhood memories of The Wizard of Oz. Who doesn’t remember when Dorothy reaches a crossroads on her journey to the Wizard and is confused about which way to go ~ and how the talking tree chimes in with his opinion?
The dictionary describes a path as:
~ a way beaten, formed, or trodden by the feet of persons or animals.
~ a narrow walk or way: a path through a garden; a bicycle path.
~ a route, course, or track along which something moves: the path of a hurricane.4.
Paths are a lot more than that. They can create a sense of mystery. Or a feeling of excitement, anticipation and fear ~ even a journey into the unknown. And when it comes to garden making, without well laid out paths, our gardens are chaotic.
When I designed my cutting garden, I used mulch for the pathway. I wanted an easy to maintain, non-formal walkway that would allow flowers to flop in a natural, overgrown style.
The stepping stone pathway at Chanticleer’s hillside garden is practically invisible until you set foot on it.
The trampled grass is an unspoken pathway that leads hikers towards the mountain.
Although this stone entry ‘walkway’ to the Tea Cup garden doesn’t qualify as a pathway – it is too wide – I couldn’t resist inserting it in. Why? Because – when walking through it, the visitor has no sense of what’s beyond. The wall – upon which the bicycle is leaning – keeps the visitor in a ‘not knowing’ state until she walks through an entryway and then – POW – in a split second, the Tea Cup garden ignites all of your senses.
The straight grass pathway is perfect for maintaining a sense of geometry and allowing a sweeping overview of the cutting garden in all of its glory.
If you’re interested in reading other articles I’ve written about paths on Gardening Gone Wild, click on the links below.
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NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Tell us about paths you’ve created in your garden or a favorite path you’ve been on.