The White Pathway

In our yard exist many corners that have not yet been cultivated. Most of these spots may never receive more than a cursory attempt at management. While I was mowing today I drove through one such area that completely caught me off guard. Along our back property line is an old fence that I'm sure was there before our subdivision became what it is today and was probably used to keep cattle contained. The back area of our yard, which continues up a hillside and along the fence, was completely left alone and naturalized for several years. Last fall I began to make pathways through the brushy hillside so that we could move around our property. The pathways aren't anything spectacular, just simple cut grass areas through the brush, but enable us to use a little bit more of our yard.

It was this seldom cared for pathway tucked away in the back of the yard that struck me as being particularly special. As I drove the mower through the pathway the sun shone down in such a way to illuminate all the white wildflowers that have grown on either side of the path. The filtered sunlight and dappled shade highlighted the area in such a way that I was forced to immediately drive my mower back to the garage and retrieve my camera. I was struck by the well placed, natural beauty of the scene. Has a scene from your garden ever prompted you to do the same?

Planting en mass is a popular technique that works very well in places but I never would have though to plant so much white in one area. It's clear that a mass of white flowers might be a nice treatment for certain areas particularly those in full to part shade. Mother nature planted this area with two white blooming wildflowers:

Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides
or White Heath Aster


Heath Aster has a wide distribution across the states and is widely considered a weed but looks pretty nice in the right setting. Each year they will produce thousands of seeds and have almost completely covered our hillside.

Ageratina altissima (Eupatorium rugosum)
or White Snakeroot

Here the white snakeroot is mixed in the shade with the heath aster. Snakeroot is blooming all along our back property line where it receives mostly shade. It's white flowers brighten up the shade and seem to make those spots glow with a light of their own. There is some interesting information at Wikipedia concerning it's poisonous nature.

Together these two naturally occurring wildflowers have created a white pathway for fall.  Since I have other areas to attend to and other projects in need of attention I'm content to let the white pathway stand as it is. Maybe one day I'll add a little something to this area but for now I'll leave it to Mother Nature to design!

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