The Q&A Archives: Garden Border

Question: Hi,I have 2 small garden plots (about 4' diameter) at the front of my lawn by the front sidewalk. Each year the dirt somehow moves itself onto the sidewalk, and grows grass. Are there any easy to maintain low plants I can put there that will keep the soil in place and the grass out? My other idea was edger stones, but would rather use plants if I can. I live in Norwich, CT. Thanks.

Answer: Creeping phlox is commonly used as a rock garden plant but works well in borders, too. It forms a dense mat of moss-like foliage, which is covered in spring with masses of flowers in either pink, purplish or white. It is a plant for full sun and relatively dry soils. As plants age, they may tend to develop occasional dead spots. Periodic division to fill such spots may be necessary. In mild climates the plants are evergreen, but where winters are cold and plants are exposed, browning may occur. Creeping thyme (Thymus serphyllum) is a mat-forming perennial with tiny leaves, producing rounded purplish flower heads about 4 inches tall. Stems are woody at the base and spread gradually to form a mat up to 3 feet in diameter. Wooly thyme (T. pseudolanuginosis) is a prostrate plant with tiny, hairy leaves, staying less than one inch tall. If produces few flowers but provides an interesting texture in the garden. Thymes require a well-drained, sunny location. Unlike most ground covers, they will tolerate some foot traffic and are commonly planted in cracks between stone steps or pavers. Best wishes with your garden!

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