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Summer Garden Paths

There was a cool breeze this morning, a promise of weather changes to come in September. But only a promise. It is HOT out there, and warm mugginess often lingers long into the night. Afternoon thunderstorms may bring temporary cooling. I stuck my camera out the front door and took the following photos during a recent storm. The crepe myrtles are drooping because of the heavy rain:

I'm not doing much planting during these 'dog days' of summer, but I pull a few weeds and do a lot of dreaming. I like to get out and walk the garden paths immediately after a thunderstorm, before the sun returns and turns the moisture to steam. Garden paths are essential to define the spaces and to give humans and animals access to different areas of the garden. I smile when I see wild animals using my garden paths. A few of my paths came from preexisting foot paths and dog trots. I widened and weeded them, limbed up trees so one could easily walk beneath them, and defined some edges with rocks and other natural elements. 

Large oaks and other trees grow along this path:

I put decorative plants, ornaments, and benches beside the paths. Here are views inside the Front Garden. The blue bench sits along the path in front of lavender blooming crepe myrtles. I recently moved the large piece of driftwood from another part of the Front Garden to a side path, shown in the second row, to better define it:

There are a few flowers blooming in the front garden:

Some more recent images of the Front Garden:Top: A mulched path separates the lawn from the Front Garden; Branch structure of a large japanese maple. 2nd row: A white pine , the only survivor of three I originally planted. The others succumbed to pine beetles. I am glad this one was spared; Rosa mutabilis, the butterfly rose, grows in front of the white pine.

 I call this path the hydrangea walk:Top: An overview of the hydrangea walk. The large white hydrangea is 'Limelight'. 2nd row: A closer look at 'Limelight' blooms. 3rd row: As summer has advanced, 'Endless Summer' hydrangea has turned from brilliant blue to a dusty rose; 'Annabelle' hydrangea has turned from white to green. I think both are beautiful

A touch of autumn color is beginning to show in the Lady in Red hydrangeas. These grow along the hydrangea walk and also in the Woodland garden:

Across the road from the Front Garden the Woodland Garden is tucked into a little valley. After a thuderstorm the moss paths are lush:

More images from the Woodland Garden:1st row: Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride' is beginning to bloom; Stromanthe 'Tri-o-star' grows in a pot. 2nd row: Groundcover indigofera still has a few blooms; Flowers of Hosta 'Sum and Substance'. 3rd row: A mossy side path; A very old muscadine vine. 4th row: Variegated hydrangea; A young Southern magnolia borders a woodland path.I always begin a stroll through the garden with anticipation. What will I see?  I almost missed the following little surprises. I was fortunate I had my camera ready!

I hope you enjoyed the tour along my summer garden paths. May August bring you many blessings!  


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Reader Comments (36)

I enjoyed the stroll down all your paths. So many pretty places to stop and see. You imagine the animals using the path, well I was at a clients house for lunch and I saw a doe and fawn come out from the one path and casually walk through the yard and up the other bark path back into the woods. What a beautiful sight. Rare too for 1:30 in the afternoon. I am betting your paths are well used too.

July 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

We have been hearing on our news programmes about the heat you are all having in America, photographs are sometimes deceiving, all your lovely trees make it look so cool ! Really love your hydrangea walk, so much variety. You must have been very quiet indeed to creep up so close to the rabbit, moments like that are so special.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

Lovely photos Deborah! I have a real soft spot for hydrangeas and I think Annabelle is one of the lovliest - as you will see from my post

Your woodland paths look so inviting and I imagine the scents after rain are amazing. We are having an extremely cool summer here in the UK, some days only reaching 17C so we could do with a little of your warmth but not the extreme weather that you seem to be experiencing in the USA.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan@Holly Grove

What a delightful garden you have! I would love to daydream there too. I'm glad you had your camera ready when you spotted the rabbit and tortoise. Since I only have a small garden, I tend to take macros. I am not complaining. As it is, keeping up with the weeds is no joke.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOne

I always feel so relaxed after I see photos of your garden. The various focal points you have incorporated really add to the overall wonderful design. I know I have already told you how jealous I am of your bridge and your bench. And soon my garden will be full of hydrangeas.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I don't tire of going through your garden. The moss does look spectacular.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBom

I always am envious of your garden; now I'm jealous of your weather too! We've had a crap summer here.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Idiot Gardener

I'm wild about grass paths and mossy paths and shady paths. Thank you for the virtual stroll along yours.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

Deb - The first photo is especially stunning, as if it was taken in a public botanical garden.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Oh, what a treat to have a moss path! i have a spot of moss about 5" in diameter. I baby it, and wish it would grow! I can't imagine having an entire path of moss, but that would be delightful.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHolley

I am always in awe of your garden. All those great trees, the woodland shbrus, having a hydrangea walk - it kind of reminds me of the great cornish woodland gardens.
Thanks so much for this post!
Best (enviously)

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Webber

You've limbed up the larger trees very artfully, so that your paths look natural. It takes a real talent to make a tended, pruned, planted and weeded woodland look as natural and unfussy as yours, even with the stone steppers and benches added. It all looks like it just happened on its own! Beautiful.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Your garden is so beautiful I love the woodland paths and beds. What a great sight to see, a box turtle. We do not see many around here anymore. It has been steamy and I hate going out in it too. I run out do a few things and run back in. LOL! I am a wimp. Have a wonderful weekend.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLona

I'd love to go walking down your charming garden path. It looks cool and refreshing, but I know that's just an illusion. It's too hot and steamy to do much gardening here either. I managed an hour or two this morning trimming the roses, but that was all I could give.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Your wooded garden looks so cool and inviting but I know it's hot even under the canopy of the trees! Your paths have a magical beauty to them and lead to more places of magical beauty. Love the quality of the dappled sunlight you have in your garden.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay


July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreggo

Hi Deb, I enjoyed strolling down you garden paths. I don't envy you the heat and humidity, but I'd take the moss covered pathways in a minute. What a wonderful surprise to discover animals like the turtle and the rabbit on your strolls! Your hydrangea are just lovely! Of all the shrubs in my garden, hydrangeas are probably my favourites. I love the constant transformations of the flowers as the weather changes.

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

thank you for sharing your summer garden - I would love to walk your paths they look so inviting.

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

There's my tree - the three graces - that you told me just happened like that. I wish mine would follow your fine example.

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElephant's Eye

I never get tired of seeing pictures of your garden!! Do you prune your Endless Summer hydrangea? Mine has lots of leaves but not many flowers this year. I don't think I overfertilized. I'll take some of your rain. We're bone dry here.

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Deb - It's always a treat to take a virtual stroll through your woodland gardens. All pictures are wonderful, but the bunny shot really caught my attention - so cute (even though bunnies and I are back at war again). I'll be posting on that in the next day or two.

I just love the visual surprises of your bench and bridge -- the bold colors are so inspirational. I was just thinking of your garden treasures this weekend. I saw your latest post, and it confirmed that I need to step up my design decisions.

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShyrlene

I can imagine how hot and humid it is in Alabama, but you're garden looks likes a sanctuary from it all. Hope you're staying out of the 100% humidity. Lovely moss paths.

July 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGirlSprout

Great post on your garden paths. What a great place to stroll and see all the beauty that surrounds us. You captured it well. Thanks so much for your kind words on my blog regarding the ShelbyCo Magazine article.

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Lovely photos Debs! I love the path in the front garden - first photo - the rocks lining the pathway. I've been grappling for weeks with ideas as I want to lay a small pathway in my back garden. I think I might do something like this. I love the look.

Your flowers are all lovely! I hope you have cooler weather soon!

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

Love, love, love your woodland. So refreshing. Glad I walk through it today with you :)

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWife, Mother, Gardener

Hi Deb! It seems ages since our outing in the spring! I must get down and get some real inspiration! It's been so hot and my sad little gardens are suffering from lack of a good gardener!!
Hopefully I can make a date to come down for a visit and it won't be too hot and the garden critters will be about to say hi!

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEve

What a beautiful garden you've created, Deb. Your paths all look so inviting. I do envy your hydrangeas, although I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that I just don't have the right conditions to grow these plants. (On the other hand, I can grow white pines just by not mowing! :-))

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJean

you have a lovely garden. the view is very relaxing. like a scene from alice in wonderland. thanks for sharing your garden.


August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterANGEL

It looks so organized! That is what looks easy in your part of the world, not much dicotyledonous weeds growing profusely. I love the turtle too, it seems happy in your world.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

That is such a beautiful sanctuary you have there.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBridget

I enjoyed the walk along your garden paths - so restful to the eyes and spirit!

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGinny

Deb, I think your garden is fabulous! I love all your garden's walks. Very peaceful. relaxing. Well done!

August 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

Even if the gardener is wilting in the heat, your plants, especially your hydrangeas, seem to be holding up very well! As much as I love walking through gardens to visit plants I know are there, I especially love the little wildlife surprises. Your last two photos are perfect. I don't see many turtles in our garden, but I've seen ears just like those on your bunny, quite often lurking behind the lavender here...

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

What a beautiful walk through your garden! One of the last pictures makes me sad...the variegated hydrangea. I am watching mine burn up daily. I transplanted it this year, not realizing we would have such a heat wave and drought. If it doesn't survive, I believe I will replant another because I just love the foliage, even if it never bloomed. Thanks for taking us along on the walk :-)

I'm dedicated fan of your garden.
What a coincidence! I've got a few sprouts from a crepe myrtles. We were on a walk and I saw a blossoming tree a few days ago. I've never seen this little tree before it. I did not know it. But the owner was out in her garden and I asked her about the tree. And she gave me some sprouts. I hope its will grow strong roots.
Thank you for the walk in your garden. It was wonderful. And the bunny...

August 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuhmeli
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