Plants for Walls and Paving
Garden tip from Plants for Places (DK Publishing), dk.com
This book is a handy, pocket-sized guide that will help in choosing plants for specific conditions or places in the garden.
Walls, paths and patios are practical features. Paths allow people to use the garden without getting their feet dirty; patios provide an area for dining and outdoor entertaining; and walls serve to divide the garden into separate areas. Although these surfaces may seem to be mundane, there is no reason why they cannot form yet another planting niche for the gardener to explore. Here are some ideal plants for these areas:
Ajuga reptans (‘Catlin’s Giant’)
An excellent evergreen perennial for both paving and groundcover. It bears whorls of dark blue flowers along the upright stems in early summer. The glossy, deep bronze-purple leaves can be up to 6 inches long. Also useful as border edging, coping with both dry and damp shade. It is tolerant of clay soils.
This evergreen perennial, sometimes sold as E. mucronatus or ‘Profusion,’ forms a carpet of gray-green foliage that is covered by yellow-centered, daisy-like flowers in summer. The outer petals are white, aging to pink or purple. It can also be grown as a trailing container plant. Tolerant of coastal conditions. Weedy spread can be a problem. Pull seedlings to control.
This low-growing, usually evergreen plant forms mounds of glossy light green leaves and bears profuse clusters of pale to bright pink flowers in summer. An undemanding plant that is also good for groundcover, containers, rock gardens and the fronts of sunny borders, it tolerates a range of soils and sites.
Myosotis sylvatica (‘Music’)
Although most often used as short-lived bedding plants, compact cultivars of the forget-me-not are ideal for crevices in damp, lightly shaded areas of paving. This cultivar has very large, bright blue flowers from spring to early summer. It will self-seed, but its offspring may not retain the same characteristics. Tolerant of clay soils.
This small bulb, with grass-like foliage, produces densely packed spikes of bell-shaped, pale blue spring flowers, each petal with a darker blue stripe. It looks charming in paving crevices and is equally suitable for a rock garden. It can also be grown in containers or beneath shrubs.
This common stonecrop forms an evergreen mat of small and rounded, fleshy, pale green leaves. This is topped by starry, yellow-green flowers over long periods in summer. Any small piece will root easily if pushed carefully into a paving crevice. It grows well in hot, dry sites and in shallow containers, and it can be grown as a groundcover. Tolerant of sandy and alkaline soils.