Pathside perfection

Building a garden by a path is easy, as long as you have the right plants. A mix of habits and flower colors will make the side of any garden path come alive. Let the mounding plants spill over into the path so they hide the path’s edge, or show it off with low-growing ground covers. This geum’s tidy form makes it a great pathside plant. Click ahead to learn more about it and meet two other great options. 

Geum
Geum hybrids

Butterflies love geums! If you want even more flowers, try Totally Tangerine. Once it starts in early summer this cultivar will keep blooming right on through the heat of summer — perfect for the front of a border. Why so many flowers? The flowers are sterile so the plant puts all of its energy into producing flowers instead of seeds.

Best of all, geums, have almost no pests or diseases that bother them. Not even rabbits or deer find them tasty.

Type Perennial

Blooms Shades of red, yellow or orange from late spring through summer

Light Full sun to part shade

Soil Moist, well-drained

Size 12 to 30 in. tall, 12 to 24 in. wide

Cold-hardy USDA zones 3 to 9

Heat-tolerant AHS zones 9 to 1

European wild ginger Asarum europaeum

This slow-spreading ground cover creates a lush patch of glossy, kidney-shaped foliage that adds texture and depth to a garden. As a bonus, the foliage is evergreen, so it adds four-season interest. It’s a perfect mat-forming ground cover to edge your garden.

European wild ginger looks best in part to full shade, where its glossy foliage reflects light. This ground cover likes moist areas, but will tolerate drought once it’s established. It’s very low-maintenance, and doesn’t require much work — simply pick off any foliage that looks brown or ratty.

Type Perennial

Blooms Small chocolate-brown flowers form under the foliage in spring

Light Part to full shade

Soil Moist

Size 4 to 8 in. tall, 9 to 12 in. wide

Cold-hardy USDA zones 4 to 8

Heat-tolerant AHS zones 8 to 1

Laurentia
Isotoma axillaris

Laurentia forms a blanket of fine foliage covered in blooms from summer to fall! It’s a great companion for large-flowered summer annuals. Let laurentia spread alongside your path and conceal the edging.

Laurentia loves heat and humidity, and it can adapt to nearly any soil, from moist to dry, as long as it’s well-drained. If your laurentia starts to look a little tired in midsummer, give it a quick pick-me-up: Shear the plant back by a third. It’ll quickly regrow, and you’ll even see those star-shaped blooms again.

Type Perennial

Blooms Purple-blue star-shaped blooms from summer to fall

Light Full sun to part shade

Soil Well-drained

Size 10 to 12 in. tall and wide

Cold-hardy USDA zones 10 to 11

Heat-tolerant AHS zones 11 to 1

Having trouble viewing the slideshow? View all slides