Monday, February 08, 2010
We started the garden paths using cedar chips from the cedars (Juniperus virginiana) we cut down to make space for planting. Good to start with, but cedar rots in this wet, muddy place, and every time we have a big rain, it washes out. Time to bite the bullet. I had 20 cubic yards of "river washed" pea gravel and 15 of coarser gravel delivered a couple of weeks ago.
We're laying a geotextile fabric to keep down weeds, then a thick two-inch layer of coarser "blue" driveway gravel, and a top layer of pea gravel. This appears to be making a solid, stable, easy walking path that will keep the feet well above the extreme wetness of the garden soil.
I've always wanted a gravel path not just for the look, but more for the feel of walking on it, and for the sound, a soft sursurration of movement and faint crackle - it's a synaesthetic experience, part of appealing to all senses in the garden.
Of course, the gravel isn't cheap. And since limited access makes it necessary to move and place the gravel by hand, labor cost is high. I'm hoping this path will last.
Now the path calls out for groundcovers and varied pathside plantings to better integrate it into the whole. That means plants that can survive and thrive in wet clay, are at least moderately agressive but not too much so, and will spread into the surrounding areas to moderate the growth of weeds and create a visual ground congruent with the larger plantings. For starters, various carex, Deschampsia caespetosa, Lysimachia nummularia. Suggestions welcome.