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I live in Scotland and have recently put a path in the garden which passes between two large lilacs into a clear area before reaching the lawn. I would like suggestions for plants ( hardy perennials) for softening the edges of the path and adding a bit of colour. Preferably low growing plants.


Small campanulas, hardy geraniums or alchemilla mollis would be lovely. You may want to deadhead alchemilla as she can self seed but she is beautiful.

Thymus silver Posie. Lovely taller thyme with pinky silver foliage and pink flowers. The very best of the thymes. Geranium black beauty ....dark purple/black foliage and bright blue flowers on a compact stunning plant. Contrasts beautifully with the silver thyme.
Osteospermum tresco Purple is fairly hardy and flowers non stop.
Lavender Munstead. Try santolina lemon fizz.....a bright yellow scented mound

We use variegated thyme - it creeps over the edge but only a few inches. 


Alyssum, aubrieta and cerastium are all low growing, quick spreading plants which I have edging paths in my garden. Here's a photo of the alyssum at the moment:

And the cerastium last May:




Geranium macrorrhizum is a brilliant do-er, as is ajuga (bugle). Saxifraga urbium (london pride) is another toughie. All 3 will grow just about anywhere, making them good ones to use repeatedly in various areas to create unity and rhythm between fancier or more site-specific plants. The ajuga and saxifrage are evergreen, and all 3 spread without being invasive, and have shallow roots, so you can buy one or two of each, plant em, and then split them up to create more plants every year.


...^very much agree with that re: Geranium Macrorrhizum, one of my favourite ground covers.... it will even suppress the dreaded horse's tail weed...

lovely photos of the Alyssum above...

Thanks to all for the very useful tips and especially the photos. As the weather is still terrible I'll spend the next few days looking for suppliers. Any suggestions for a good source for the Geranium Macrorrhizum would be much appreciated. I thinks most of the other suggestions will be readily available.


Hi zampano

G. macrorrhizum is available but often sold as Bevan's variety, bright pink, or Ingwersen's variety, much lighter in colour. Might be because, unlike us, they can't spell macrorrhizum. Or perhaps they think it will put the customers off.

Don't be tempted by 'Album', the white one, it's a really feeble grower.


Click on the link below for the RHS website and enter the plant name and you should be able to see a list of suppliers throughout the UK - if we could on this site I would send you just break off a piece and replant it, very easy to propagate. Hope this helps

Salino of my favourite border edgings is an evergreen called Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue', which is now coming into flower actually.  

I believe it's hardy everywhere here... I can never have enough of this plant and I've got it all over the place... you can usually buy these in little pots quite cheaply, even from markets... they soon grow and spread out... and easy to propagate...  I think Roy Lancaster introduced it to this country...

What about planting between a concrete slab path and a house wall - currently thick with rosebay willowherb and assorted others, would like to replant it with something that is hardy, but won't bury its roots into the house wall - tall order, I know! Any suggestions? Live in Scotland.

Hi Zam i saw a path with wild thyme Pink/red edging the stones and evening primrose behind it,, just stunning personally i would have added a little lavender as well. good luck

Resolis, Erigeron karvinskianus has planted itself between my path and house wall. Easy to contain, flowers all summer and beyond. I cut it back to base in early spring and it starts again. Carol Klein has it between the steps in her garden.

Nepeta is worth considering.   Blue flowers all summer.  Tough and evergreen.  Easily propagated too.  


first home! First garden!

i have a path leading up the side of my garden. One side of the path  is lawn - easy. The other is a long border with a fence on the other side.

i would like plant/shrub/trees which will cover some of fence and preferably remain green or look alive over winter! Ay suggestions on where to start?

Carol, I researched long and hard for a similar position and got 1 of each for planting in front of a fence. : Osmanthus x burkwoodii AGM, Photinia ?? fraseri 'Red Robin' AGM & Elaeagnus x ebbingei - ebbingers silverberry. And you can have them as a hedge too if you want.

Hi Carol, what sort of aspect is the  border - is it sunny or shady? That will help with suggestions as some plants prefer one or the other and it's disappointing to spend money only to find the plants don't thrive and you have to spend more replacing them. Can you also give us an idea of the dimensions of the border and what the soil is like? Large shrubs will be no use if it's only a couple of feet wide  - you'll be constantly cutting them back to keep them from the path! If you can post a pic (the tree icon in the toolbar shows you how) that will help enormously with ideas too 


Verdun, is it Nepeta Walker's Low that you are thinking of?

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