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.