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Converting existing (recently neglected) ornamental garden for permaculture

 
Posts: 29
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Yesterday I did a tour of a potential future gardening space that used to be very lovingly manicured for decades, but hasn't been touched in at least a year. A LOT of plants from all over have popped up into the pea gravel pathways, and there are some mature perennials like hostas that clearly haven't been getting enough water and are just dying in our hot (and often dry) Southern Ontario -zone 5ish- summers. There is a drip irrigation system in place for certain beds which also haven't been used in a while.

My dream is to be able to add in some edibles and natives to create a more permaculturist-approved garden. The pea gravel pathways are just a magnet for weeds - I'd prefer to use woodchips, personally. I'm thinking about doing a power-weed with friends and trying to get some stonecrop plants growing instead, with some little flagstones for stepping on. A part of me will be sad pulling out so many plants that I know a lot of beneficial insects love, but I'll try to leave what I can.

Does anyone here have experience in retrofitting ornamental gardens and/or creating little groundcover pathways? Please let me know if you can think of anything I should consider for adding edibles in a previously ornamental garden. I don't think I'll be able to get much information about past pesticide use, unfortunately. I understand changing something of this size is going to be a lot of work but I'm really excited by the prospect of chipping away at it and learning along the way.

Thanks!
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pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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We found out that pea gravel is not good for pathways because it gets caught in shoe soles and tracked into the house.  Woodchips will track also but won't damage hardwood floors.  I'm gradually covering the pea gravel with thick woodchip mulch.  You might put woodchip paths through the gravel and plant succulents and other plants that like good drainage in the gravel.  The book The Undaunted Garden by Lauren Springer has examples of gorgeous plantings in pea gravel.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 29
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Tyler Ludens wrote:We found out that pea gravel is not good for pathways because it gets caught in shoe soles and tracked into the house.  Woodchips will track also but won't damage hardwood floors.  I'm gradually covering the pea gravel with thick woodchip mulch.  You might put woodchip paths through the gravel and plant succulents and other plants that like good drainage in the gravel.  The book The Undaunted Garden by Lauren Springer has examples of gorgeous plantings in pea gravel.



Thanks for the tips! I just put a hold on that book at the library, looks great.
 
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That looks like a wonderful project!
 
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