Ground Covers

Sarah

Shade loving ajuga.

Shade loving ajuga.

Asparagus fern

Asparagus fern

 

 

I’ve been gardening for a long time, and most of what I’ve learned has been through trial and error.–Mostly error.  If you’re looking for a list of invasive plants to avoid, I’m your source!

One of the things I’ve finally realized is that something will grow in most soils.  A lot of the things that will grow are undesirable.  We call these WEEDS.  You know the old adage, “To give up a bad habit, you must replace it with a good habit”?  It’s become apparent to me that exposed soil must be covered with something desirable to avoid the alternative.  I’m always looking for ground covers–something attractive that will cover the soil so weeds can’t flourish.

One of my favorite ground covers for shaded areas is ajuga also known as bugleweed.  It has a spike of small blue flowers in the spring which is pretty under your trees.  It’s very hardy and generally pest free.  I also use a lot of asparagus (springeri) fern which will tolerate sun as well as shade.  I love maidenhair fern but have a really hard time keeping it looking good in the heat of the summer. I’m trying a new ground cover called green and gold (chrysogonum virginianum).  It’s recommended that it be planted in partial sun or dappled shade.  So far so good.  There’s also a form of Mexican petunia which is a ground cover that spreads slowly.  The other varieties of Mexican petunia (Katie ruellia) are very invasive.  I think that will not be the case with this variety.  It too has a purple bloom.  A couple of others include wandering jew and wood violet although wood violets have a tendency to come up in the lawn.

My goal is to one day have my beds filled with what one master gardener called thrillers (something that catches the eye), fillers (good background plants) and spillers (those things that fill the beds and give them that natural but tended look).    Guess I’d better grab my gloves and get out there!

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