Pathways in the garden bring a sense of wonder and anticipation. They may lead to a “garden room” or maybe to a special plant or attraction that deserves added attention. Whatever the purpose, it is an adventure to walk it.
Paths that are developed around the garden or specialty borders can be as formal or simple as you’d like. Obviously you want to match the type of pathway to the type of garden for continuity, but beyond that, there are no limits to what the feel of the path can bring and no limits to the raw materials you use to create it. A simple, informal stone path can be as desirable as a very expensive formal path. It is all about the experience of walking that path that is important.
When creating a pathway, provide pockets of interest along the way. It might be a birdbath surrounded by tufts of short ornamental grasses augmented by some nice small to medium boulders. How about a small section of dwarf conifers, or a hopscotch pattern of flat rock grown over by Blue Star Creeper? Maybe you have some favorite specimen plants that are a delight and you want to highlight them. All these ideas can be put together in a way that pleases you and those you invite to walk your pathway.
My favorite paths are found, not in my garden, but in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness area where I backpack. “Further up and further in” rings in my heart as I venture deep into the woods. These paths are forest floor in composition and the surroundings are absolutely impeccable. There is no place that I find rest more than in the forest…the handiwork of the Almighty. Each bend in the path presents a scene different than before and the further I go in, the better it is. Higher altitude sifts the plant selection and the plants take on a form as though a bonsai artist had been there. The wind, snow, rain, and sun are the sculptors hard at work. The journey is primary, the destination secondary.
The garden and forest path are somewhat like the paths we walk in life…you only see a little bit at a time, but always with the anticipation of another experience just around the corner. Some of those “just around the corner” experiences are difficult and, at times, more than we bargained for. Some, however, are full of wonder and amazement. Both are necessary. One might be tempted to believe that the destination at the end of the path holds all the treasure, but traveled with patience…fully grasping your surroundings at the moment, you quickly realize that destination is empty without the experience of the journey.
For some ideas for pathway styles, follow the link to my Pinterest page. Happy Gardening, Mallory