The Occasional Gardener: Ideas + Aesthetics + Inspiration from the Garden

The Patient Path


In the last few weeks, the stone path I laid in the dark verandah has finally 'clicked'. It's taken the best part of a couple of years. It's a short path that takes you from the concrete verandah, through the border and an opening in the bamboo fence. I found most of the 'stones' in the orchard where I think many years ago some renovation had occured and these broken pieces ended up being disposed there. They are really chunks of cement and gravel but having been laying around for years in the cooler shade of the orchard, had become mossy.

Having transferred and laid them, which took a few tries to get right, their new site was a little sunnier than what they were used to and the mossiness started to fade. I planted Hemigraphis Alternata and Peacock Ginger, Kaemferia Elegans on one side and Piper Betel on the other. Every few weeks I bought a bag full of Centella Asiatica from the farmers market (sold as a salad green but still with roots on) and stuffed them into all the spaces in between. They were all slow to take and sulky. Both the Hemigraphis and Kaemferia elegans would disappear and return again in a slighty different spot.

Now, some of the stones are lush with moss, the Hemigraphis like a multi hued purple wave lapping this mossy shore. The Kaemferia's complex patterned leaves is regularly accented with a shot of purple flower. The Betel leaves are a vibrant lime color punctuated by the darker green of a Pennywort, Hydrocotyle Ranunculoides self seeded from a nearby pot. The path instead of leading your eye out, now with all these textures and colors, holds your interest and even encourages you to stop to crouch and take a closer look.

The change happened as I started to fill the verandah with more and larger plants. I also put in a bamboo grid arbour- more about that later, both of these have created a significant change in the amount of shade this path  now receives. It's almost been a lesson in Zen, there I was thinking that I was patiently waiting for all these plants to get their act together and all this time it was them waiting for me to create the conditions that now makes them thrive.

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