Monday, March 21, 2011
The most widely planted groundcover in today’s landscape is turf grass. Most of the time it succeeds in providing a suitable cover. Yet, sometimes-unsuitable growing conditions like a large shade tree prevent its continued success or perhaps you just don’t want to cut and care for a lawn. Maybe it is time to consider some other types of groundcovers. They can provide solutions to a landscaping challenge or just add a bit of much needed texture and color.
Groundcover plants, provide dense soil cover, retard weed growth, and prevent soil erosion. Groundcovers range in height from an inch to four feet. You will find clumping or running varieties as well as evergreen or deciduous varieties. Groundcovers not only solve problems but also unify different components in the landscape. Non-spreading types of groundcovers can be used as hedging material, traffic barriers or just visual guides toward an entry. They soften hardscapes such as walks, steps, and driveways. Groundcovers also help to define space. A low groundcover can provide a transition between the lawn and taller plants used in beds.
In my yard I have several different groundcovers.
Ajuga reptans or Bugleweed or Carpetweed is Out by my pond. It is evergreen and liked partial shade, sandy, well drained soil but tolerates clay. It has Blue-violet or pink flowers in spring on 4 to 6 inch spikes; spreads by stolons.
Lysimachia nummularia Creeping Jenny I use between flagstones- watch where you plant this one! It is a vigorous spreading evergreen groundcover with rounded, golden yellow leaves. In summer, it produces many cup-shaped, bright yellow flowers. Grow in a moist, but well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. Full sun or partial shade, but color is best in full sun.
Mazus reptans is a mat-forming perennial with rosettes of lance-shaped toothed leaves is also among my flagstones. It spreads quickly through rooting stems. From late spring to mid-summer, it bears 2- to 5-flowered racemes of snapdragon-like purple-blue flowers with lower lips spotted with yellow and red. It Fills in quickly without being aggressive. Use between stepping-stones or to cover large patches of soil.
Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus), and Dwarf Mondo -An alternative to turf grass, mondo grass is a low maintenance turf that never needs to be mowed and remains colorful all-year long. It produces blue berries in summer. Mondo grass grows well in ordinary garden soil, requiring minimum attention once established. Plants thrive in filtered sun to full shade and prefer moist soil. The foliage is usually light green when plants are grown in filtered sun. Plants growing in the shade have dark green leaves.They are a perfect solution in areas where water conservation is necessary since they do not require a lot of watering and can easily withstand heat and drought.
Dwarf mondo is similar to traditional mondo however the leaves are more closely cropped and compact, reaching a height of only 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm). This gives the groundcover more of a well-maintained look.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Bulbs in full bloom…can spring be far away? When the leaves of spring-flowering bulbs emerge, advice says to apply a complete fertilizer. Usually I never get around to this but this year made the effort! I always seem to remember after they bloom and that is the time you don’t want to Fertilize since they are going dormant. Also after the bulbs have finished blooming resist the urge to remove leaves or braid them. Let the leaves die naturally. The leaves are needed to harvest energy that is channeled to the bulb for next year’s flowers. I plant daylilies among the bulbs that help hide the yellowing leaves of the spring bulbs. When flowers of these bulbs fade, cut them off to prevent seeds from developing and taking energy from the bulb.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Now blooming in my yard Iris hollandica a bulb that flowers in mid to late spring for 2-3 weeks. Plants are about 20 inches tall. Planting depth: 5 inches deep. Climatic zone 8 with mulch, Zones 9 to 10 without mulch. Requires full sunlight and keep moist during growing season.
Also blooming Tulips: Tulips are classified with perennials but often need to be treated as annuals. You can dig up your tulips once the foliage has died & store them in a cool dry area for replanting in the fall. But I just buy new ones in the fall. I’ve not had good luck storing them. Tulips need well-drained soil. To improve drainage add sand and compost to your soil. Tulips enjoy full sun. If you are planting other bedding plants amongst tulips; it is a good idea to plant them before the bulbs, so as not to damage the bulbs with the trowel later.
Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'Burgundy':I love this shrub! The striking color of the flowers of this evergreen member of the witchhazel family has drawn attention to this species. Height and Width:'Burgundy' is reported to have reached a height of 14 feet. Habit: Evergreen or semi-evergreen (depending on U.S.D.A. hardiness zone),robust, vase-shaped to rounded shrub to small tree. Foliage: 'Burgundy': new leaves red-purple, older foliage dark reddish purple to dark olive green. Foliage of 'Burgundy' may exhibit an orange red coloration in hardiness zones where it is not completely evergreen. Flowers are a shocking pink. Culture: Prefers, moist but well-drained acid soils with high organic matter. Hardiness: U.S.D.A. Zones 7b-9