Ok, talk me out of crushed shell paths (again)
Every year at this time I begin thinking about ways to mow less--and also spend less time topping off organic mulches, which seem to rot instantly in this weather. And every year I'm drawn to the idea of covering much, or even all, of the back yard paths and sitting areas with "washed shells". (If you've never seen them, mulch companies sell them by the cubic yard, like gravel, and they're used like gravel.) I like them because they're a local product with a very Florida feel. I would border the paths with landscape timbers and set stepping stones in the shells to make walking easier and reduce the tendency to "track." I would buy shells mixed with silt so they would pack down with the rains, making a hard surface that I could keep clean with a leaf blower.
And every year i post on gw or ask gardeners I know and everyone yells in unison DONT DO IT! Your flower and vegetable beds will be full of shells, they say. They'll track everywhere, they say. Weeds will pop up and leaves will fall and it will be a big mess, they say. You'll alter the ph of the soil, nothing will grow (except weeds) and the garden will blind you it will be so bright in the sun, they say.
And I think, well, maybe crushed shells aren't such a good idea. . .
But then summer will come around again, and i'll mow and mow (and mow) and spread tons of organic mulch, and I start dreaming of crushed shell paths . . .