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A New Woodland Path

This past spring I noticed some trilliums growing in an area of the woodland garden that was undeveloped:Trillium cuneatum, photo taken March, 2010There was a bit of a trail there, created by dogs and kids who sometimes cut through the woods. I cleared a few vines from the area but didn't do much else until last week. A cool breeze hit me as I stood in the forest, and in the hot, sticky air of August the momentary refreshment brought inspiration.

I would make a new woodland path!

I went to work pulling weeds and more vines till the foot trail was wider and better defined. The new path comes off the moss path in the woodland garden and makes a wide loop before it rejoins the main path in the upper woodlands. Straw falls from pine trees beside the new path and provides a nice carpet underfoot. I planted a few hostas, heuchera, ferns and a climbing hydrangea, but I think I will leave the area essentially wild. As in most of my garden, low maintenance will be important. Nandina and mahonia already grow here, and there is vinca, liriope, and the trilliums, which are dormant this time of year. I must plant some daffodils, of course, and this will be a great place for some Snowflake hydrangeas and some native azaleas and...we will see! 

I was dripping sweat and dirty as an oil rig worker when I finished, but I was pleased with the results. I still need to cut some brush and wild hedges, but further work will wait till cooler weather! Meanwhile, here is what I have so far:
View of wild muscadine vines, to the left of the new path as it comes off the main woodland trailNandina on the left and mahonia on the right at the head of the new woodland path

View of nandina near the beginning of the new path

An enormous poison ivy vine grows on this pine tree. I decided not to touch it.I planted a few hosta and heuchera along this part of the path.1st row: hosta 'Groundmaster', foliage and flower. 2nd row Mahonia; Native climbing hydrangea, Decumaria barbara. 3rd row:Liriope; Nandina domestica. 4th row: Heuchera 'Autumn Bride"; Hosta 'June'.The woodland floor is covered with vica major here beside the new path. I plan to plant daffodils in this area.Here the new trail starts to turn back toward the main woodland path.This is the view to the left, near the end of the new woodland path.The new path rejoins the main trail at the blue bridge.View from blue bridge, back toward new path

You may also like : Seven Steps to Making a Woodland Garden

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Reader Comments (19)

Truly enchanting Deb! You are an inspiration... I would love a small bridge like that in my forest... I love the feeling of your path. The daffs will be cheery in spring. Your trillium shot is gorgeous! ;>)

August 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

What a beautiful and tranquil setting -- your path just invites one to leisurely stroll along and enjoy nature. Great job, Deb!

August 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

Lovely trillium! I can certainly appreciate the need for a low maintenance garden; it's way too easy to get carried away with more needy plants only to regret it when the Summer comes. Your little blue bridge is adorable.

August 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Wow! I'm *almost* speechless. What can I say? You have a beautiful property. It must be so wonderful to walk those woodland paths everyday.

August 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFloridagirl

Dear Deborah, I very much hope that I am not a woman given to envy, but every time I see pictures of, and read about, your woodland garden I am left wondering. It is, as I am sure you know, really wonderful and how exciting that it is being extended with a further path. How I should love, if invited, to spend time with you in it - so many interesting plants, such splendid trees and, everywhere, places to pause to take in yet another vista. Lovely, lovely!

No, let me not deny it, I am envious!!

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdith Hope

What a beautiful path -- it looks like it's been there forever. Thanks so much for sharing it!

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Barrow

You have given me inspiration for my new patch of dirt! Many many thanks! Michaela

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUrban Dirt Girl

I love having new projects in the garden - its so exciting Deborah reading about this new path - I can remember from last winter the beautiful colours from the nandina so this new path will be absolutely wonderful. I can just picture the daffodils in that area with the vinca at their feet......... ohhhhhhhhh its going to be just wonderful for you walking from that beautiful little bridge and seeing the wooded area from a new angle. I'm getting excited for you too! lol

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Deb I love your new woodland path, as it really doesn't look new at all. It looks just like it belongs there, and is very inviting. I think your woodland floor will be dazzling with daffodils in the spring. Good grief...it really is almost time to plant bulbs again isn't it? Where did the year go!?

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

I'm inspired! I have a much smaller shade area that I want to develop this fall. I had already planned to pull up most of the vinca and ivy, and to plant hosta - but I had not thought about daffodils. I can't wait to get started.

August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGinny

Amazing how we get a bit of energy when it cools down a bit, and another project underway. Love the pic of your trillium.

Hello Deb, I've read and re-read this informative and inspiring post. I did wonder how your woodland plants do so well given that dry shade can be a problem here. I always assumed Nandina needed more sun too. As for the Trillium, it's breathtaking. Lucky you to have a woodland but well deserved since you take such good care of it.


August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatioPatch

You have a wonderful eye for composition, and your inspiring photos really capture the peaceful feeling of this wonderful woodland garden you have. I'm also encouraged by your use of native plants in your gardening. I'm looking forward to seeing your little forest develop over time!


August 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkinked hose

BTW Picture of your problem - patio and rain? A rain barrel will fill, and it is amazing how quickly in a downpour. Would anyway need an overflow solution. Or a channel with stones leading to a dry creek, which only runs when it rains? Town Mouse has a dry creek.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterelephant's eye

Enchanting ... I love a stroll thought a woodland garden.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjoey

Deb - you have some incredible talent and amazing moxie (there's a refreshing breeze - let's just take on making a woodland path?!!). Thanks for sharing the journey - this is so cool! -Shyrlene

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShyrlene

Once again, really cool photos and inspiring. I have a wooded area behind my home that I couild develop into a woodland garden, but when I think of the work it would involve, a quick "no" comes to mind.

I have two neglected Mahonia in my yard. Your post makes me think about moving them into a more prominent place.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

How fortunate you are to have a woodland area to begin with. What you have created is enchanting.

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterallanbecker.gardenguru

This makes me wish that I had areal woods to play and garden in. I love the idea of the natural setting, the path, and a few new plants to transition between garden and woods.

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNorthern Shade

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