It's a long time since I've been on the forum pages, so hello again to the old timers, and hello to the newer folks.
Can anyone help me with a quick question please? My patio, which is a very badly laid area of concrete, hardly worthy of the name patio, has several large cracks in it. I want to plant something in the cracks that will be beneficial to wildlife, hardy enough to withstand the frequent traffic of feet and paws, but not so prolific that I have to keep dealing with it. I'm guessing something coastal or alpine is my best bet, but after that, I'm stuck. Any suggestions?
PS If it happened to smell nice, that would be a bonus!
Sedum might be the plant you're looking for. Attracts insects which will benefit the birds.
My gallery here
I never cease to be amazed at how much I didn't know I didn't know.
Thyme is good for cracks and resistant to foot traffic. The best one I've found is Thymus serpyllum or creeping thyme which flowers all summer. I have four of these plants in my rock garden and they will creep over the rocks so they will soften the edges and then hide the cracks.
The bees and other insects love them. If the spread is too large, you can reshape them easily. They have the fragrant leaves too so treading on them brings out the smell. The growth is dense enough to smother most weeds.
Alpine strawberries (Fragaria vesca) are as tough as old boots and actually seem to prefer growing out of cracks between paving. Nice white flowers in spring followed by small edible sweet fruits - if the wildlife doesn't get them first. Beware though they can self seed readily.
My Flickr photostream
A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. (Chinese proverb)
Thanks everyone - I think I'll go for some of each.
Three plants that have not been mentioned ~
Not sure if they would put up with being stepped on to many times in which case one of the many Thymus serpyllum cultivares would fit the bill.
A very old Shropshire Lad.
I have been trying to keep the moss growing in my paving and was going to try thyme but glad I didn't as the blackbird came along last week and pulled it all out. Months of growing wasted Lol.
Best wishes Lolly
My Photos on Flickr
My Videos on YouTube
Can't add much more than has already been mentioned above other than to suggest planting a few bulbs in them also if you have enough depth of soil. I have found things like snow drops, aconites, anemones, miniature irises amongst many others will grow in cracks but may not be as 'durable' as Tyme which is probably one of the best choices!
One last suggestion which I just thought of is Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia Nummularia) which is great for ground cover and has lovely bright yellow flowers and rich evergreen leaves. it's really tough and will grow just about anywhere, I've often used it for ground cover in the past?
Think that you have some great suggestions here.
Thyme's are great in these situations + there are lots of different ones, different colour flowers + foliage, different scents (I love the lemon ones) + if they spread to far, cut back + pop the cuttings in the kitchen!
Chamomile is also great in the less well used areas, wonderful scent when trod on.
I have plenty alpine strawberry plants, if youd like some pm me, They spread out of the border onto the gravel drive here + take quite a bit of pounding from bikes + feet.
Towards the edge I love to put thrifts which the bees love + dianthis which is wonderfully scented both survive a wee bit of trampling.
What ever you choose enjoy!!
'In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks' John Muir.
Excuse wobbily dyslexic spelling!