A Path Seldom Seen Needs a Carpet of Snow

There is a path seldom seen in my cottage garden. On the north side of a flower-filled bed, the stepping stones allow the gardener access for the tasks of weeding or the pleasure of cutting blooms. The real performance faces south as the flowers grow into the summer sun, so this little path is equivalent to a backstage area.

I want a soft edging for the stepping stone path for my own enjoyment. I've tried a few perennials there. Lavender performed well in winter and spring, but then the tall coneflowers, salvia, bee balm and zinnias shaded it out in summer. Perennials that prefer shade get too hot next to the stones on sunny winter days.

Alyssum is an annual that is supposed to perform best in cool climates, but I decided to give it a try along the path. Using a few seeds, the experiment wasn't costly.

Seeds of the Sweet Alyssum 'Carpet of Snow' (lobularia maritima) were sown in November 2009. I paid little attention to the patch that sprouted and began blooming in April. Torrential rains in winter displaced the edging of seeds that I had sown, washing away my vision of a carpet of white edging all along the path. I'm finding the dainty alyssum blooming in different places within the flower bed, at the feet of zinnias—a nice look, in fact.

Alyssum is much tougher than its demure appearance. Now, after the hottest month on record and with little rainfall, the tufts of snowy blooms are still going strong. I have not tried it in the deer resistant garden. So far, the alyssum seems to be rabbit resistant as the bunnies that raid my garden several times a day haven't eaten the blooms.

Sweet Alyssum has a honey fragrance, is an annual that self-sows and grows to a height of 12 inches. This plant is blooming so profusely, even after a light shearing, that I anticipate having volunteers next year. This is the right plant for the right place, so I'll also sow extra seeds this autumn to once again try to create a carpet of snow.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.


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