When the scilla came up the first spring, they were rather pretty, but the next year, and every year afterward, they grew increasingly taller, and the long, floppy foliage took ages to die back. The woolly thyme was also beginning to rise in mounds as it grew over the scilla—hardly the effect she was seeking.
“Now I'm using different kinds of thyme for variety and, where I want just a little height, I'm adding dwarf hens and chicks and low-growing dianthus,” she says. The cultivar ‘Tiny Rubies' is a favourite.
Provided you choose the right plants, maintenance should be no problem once they're well established. Keep plants trimmed or let them roam, but be vigilant when it comes to weeds, and sweep gently with a broom when clearing snow. You'll be rewarded with a revitalized footpath in the spring.
Uncommon stepping stones
Stepping stones can serve multiple purposes in the garden. In addition to forming traditional paths, three or four might be placed to lead the visitor into an intriguing garden nook, or a single one used as a striking accent beneath a bird bath, under an outdoor tap or in front of a garden seat.
Images of fossils—both real and imaginary—highlight the stepping stones designed by Heather and John Zondervan of Metallic Evolution. The images are cut right through the irregularly shaped stones, crafted from three-millimetre-thick steel, allowing the sand, gravel or earth underneath to show through.
>Gabriel Cortez, designer at ArtStone, crafts stepping stones of natural stone mosaics in floral and abstract designs. Each is one-of-a-kind and can be further personalized with engravings for special occasions.
Stained-glass stepping-stones are surprisingly durable. Artist Judi Waymark, owner of The Glass Garden, uses glass mosaic on concrete to create stones featuring hummingbirds, dragonflies and sunflowers, among other motifs, and offers do-it-yourself kits.
Or, make your own. Designer Karen Kirk created leaf-shaped stepping stones out of concrete. To make the mould for the concrete, Karen bent flexible black plastic garden edging into shape, then taped the ends together. After pouring concrete into the mould, she let it set for a bit, then pressed shells, stones and leaves onto its surface. You'll find instructions on how to do this project in the September 2001 issue of our sister publication, Canadian Home Workshop, at this location. (For another version using giant leaves, see “One Step at a Time”).