To make an edge along a path, look for short plants.  It is easy to find the blooms. With a number of them together they make a blast of color.  One of my favorites is the short ZINNIA that comes in bright red, orange, or yellow. They are less than a foot tall, do not need a lot of water, does not need deadheading, and blooms all summer. I have a patch save for them on the front parkway.

          Another one just as stable all summer is the VINCAS (Catharanthis). It comes from Madagaster forest edges or scrub area.  It is sometimes called the MADAGASTER PERIWINKLE so it likes full sun or some shade. The colors are bright, not above 12 inches high, and bloom all summer until frost They are easy to find at the garden centers for any color combination you want.  Again they do not need deadheading.  They also do very well in pots.  Any part you eat can cause a good deal of distress. If you want a potted plant for winter, you can take a cutting, remove flowers and buds, dip the stem in rooting hormone, and soon you will have a new plant.  Usually they are started from seeds.

          For some shaded area I like BERGENIA, also called PIG SQUEAK. They have thick, glossy leaves that remain all winter. Next spring some of the older leaves are dead but new ones take their place.  Leaves may have various colors or shades mainly reddish. The spring flowers are on 12 inch thick stems in reds, pinks, or purples covering 8-12 inches of stems with multiple small flowers.  If you mulch during winter the early spring flowers will be protected.

          FORGET-ME-NOTS are a very low (2-3 inches) of solid blooms in spring.  Each plant does not live very long but they reseed themselves so thick you will need to thin. They do like water and some species (scorpiodes) are planted in muddy areas.  Mine have blue flowers about one-half inch across but thick!! They do well with mid-day shade without much fertilizer.

          If you have a shady area there are many small HOSTAS to line your paths. They are listed as giants (above 28 inches), small (8 to 12 inches), and minis (less than 8 inches.  In general we keep HOSTAS for leaves but some have rather pretty flowers.  When buying these plants check their labels carefully to get what you want.  In spring they are super easy to divide as each section comes up separately.  Foliage comes in green, blue, gold, chartreuse, and this spring there was an almost white one.  I have seen giants almost 6 feet. Lincoln garden centers have many varieties every spring.

          One plant I never see here in Lincoln is the TALINUM. The species that I have is called JEWELS OF OPAR (Talinum penicalatum). It grows about 12-18 inches tall with large chartreuse leaves. The chartreuse color is very contrasting to plants behind it. Towards fall they put out long slender stems with very small yellow flowers. Their show comes as the flowers develop red seed pods that look like small jewels. Once you have them there will be more next year as those “red jewels” produce many late starting plants. They like full sun, are not demanding for water, and take little care. I like them in dainty bouquets as the jewels are small.  They are natives of Africa and Central America so will not do well after temperatures drop below 50 degrees F.

          For a semi-shady area I like LADIES MANTLE (Alchemilla sp.) They come from tropical, rocky areas and is a clump forming perennial.  The ones I see here are MALLIS SPECIES from Turkey. They do ok in my clay and compost soil but most authors recommend sandy soil for good drainage.  Their fuzzy leaves are the showy part as the flowers are small and green.  They are listed as draught tolerant.

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