'Stepables' Don't Mind Being Walked On

By Cindi Sullivan

(LOUISVILLE, June 30th, 2004) -- Some gardens have a lot of foot traffic and need plants that can withstand being walked on. WAVE 3 Garden Talk expert Cindi Sullivan has some plants that fit the bill.

There is a group of plants that is being sold under the name of "Stepables" or "Walkabouts."  The plants in this group can withstand some foot traffic -- they can be walked on- without being harmed.

In addition to withstanding foot traffic, some "Stepables" emit fragrant odors when bruised. Most "Stepables" are ground covers that spread rapidly, yet are not invasive. They make great additions to rock gardens and fill in nicely between patio and walkway pavers.

One of my favorite groups of plants to use as Stepables are thymes, creeping red thyme has pretty little purple blooms that add interest. This extremely small-leaved plant forms a mat of shiny green foliage. Bruise this plant and smell a delightful aroma. Thymes tolerate moderate foot traffic, so use them where you will occasionally step on them in order to tickle your nose.

Chamomile is another plant you can use between stones along a walkway. Roman chamomile is actually treated like a lawn in some English gardens.

Another "Stepable" is Creeping Jenny. This groundcover is extremely useful because it will grow in areas that are dry as well as in wet areas. It likes partial to full shade. Its bright green foliage provides a splendid backdrop for bright yellow flowers in the summer.

The one thing that you need to keep in mind when you are planting in between pavers or rock paths is that it does take some time for your Stepables to fill in, so patience is the key with this garden project.