Ground-covers in my Garden
My fenced in garden is located in a clearing in the middle of a woods, about a hundred feet from the shore of a lake. Three very large trees shade half of the garden while the other half is a rather steep, sandy hill that receives the hot afternoon sun. So, I have rather a difficult spot and yet several good ol’ stand-by ground-covers have made a home in my garden. Most are more than welcome, while others I am looking to eradicate.
A definite keeper: Vinca minor or Periwinkle
A dear friend of mine let me dig up as many plants of this lovely evergreen ground-cover as I wanted. I thought it might be a bit invasive as I saw this plant everywhere along my neighborhood street, but it is quite a tame little plant that is just beautiful all year long. In mid Spring periwinkle star shaped flowers bloom for a couple of weeks.
Stick Around: Pachysandra or Japanese Spurge
I took a few plants from a friend’s cottage after seeing how well it naturalized around their stone paths. I find it to be a good addition to my garden, although it doesn’t seem to grow very well if it isn’t in rich, humus soil. It’s a bit picky in that sense, but I like it all the same, especially since it stays green all year long. Some have found it to be a bit aggressive if given the right conditions, but for my particular area it is rather a slow grower.
A definite keeper: Sedum or Stonecrop
The genus Sedum has many, many species and all make excellent ground covers. The particular Sedum I am referring to I bought unnamed from eBay. It has light green leaves, pink stems and small yellow flowers. It is very low to the ground and spreads extremely rapidly, exploding itself in just a couple years, beginning with only about a hundred cuttings. I am quite taken with it as it can take a good beating and stomping as well as mingle well with all my other flowers. It covers up my dry, sandy areas with a luscious, thick carpet which is hard to do with most any other plant I’ve worked with.
Off the Premises Immediately! Lysimachia nummularia or Creeping Jenny
I transplanted this rampant, invasive, and vicious although cute little ground-cover from the shoreline to my garden because I was enticed by its sweet yellow buttercup flowers. What a mistake that was! It has taken over a good portion of my garden, creeping up on some of my lovely flowers and choking them to death. It’s so hard to get rid of so your best bet is to never put it in your garden!
Will William Stay? Yes, please. Dianthus barbatus
This short-lived (sadly) perennial makes a beautiful ground-cover and the flowers are one of my all-time favorites. I found they reseed so well that I haven’t had to replant them myself. Sweet Williams, I must say, are a must for any little girl growing up – memories gathering big bouquets of these beauties she will certainly cherish forever.
Sorry, but out you go! Glechoma hedercea or Creeping Charlie.
I transplanted this plant from my dad’s apple orchard because I was taken by the delicate purple flowers and the lovely minty smell. It is just another messy weed that I have to get rid of before it gets rid of my other flowers. It grows incredibly fast and seems to do well pretty much anywhere from sandy soil to clay, from full sun to full shade.
I’ll Give You a Chance: Euonymus fortunei or Wintercreeper
I am not exactly sure if this plant was growing wild at my parent’s old home or it was planted there. Either way, I dug up a few plants for my garden in the bay. I was hoping it will grow up and around if I trained it to, but it is more of a creeper as the name suggests. I do like the evergreen leaves, but it has a messy habit and I am really not fond of plants like that. I often pull them out and put guards at my gate to keep them out, but the wintercreeper is different. I am not sure why, but I have a fondness for it and I am hoping it will shape up and I will be able to use it in my landscaping. We shall see. I know it works well cascading over rocks and logs, perhaps I should tame it just for that purpose. . .
You Can Stay: Lamium galeobdolon or Yellow Archangel
I got a single clipping of this trailing ground-cover from a friend a few short years ago and it spread well and fast in a shady, rather dry (nestled around the roots of a big white oak) part of my garden. It is invasive, obviously by its speed of reproduction and also its choking habit, but it isn’t a hard one to get rid of. Where I don’t want it to grow, I just pull and discard. I enjoy its variegated leaves and spikes of cheery yellow flowers in the spring. It’s a keeper in my book or should I say garden, but it still warrants a watchful eye.
A keeper: Phlox subulata or Creeping Phlox
I planted this one after purchasing some plants through mail-order. It has taken it a bit longer than I would like for it to settle in and spread, but I have to admit it is in poor, sandy soil in a sunny part of my garden. My bad. Anyway, I fell in love the bright pink blossoms and the textured foliage that I recommend this little beauty to anyone – especially someone who will give it a bit more TLC than I have.