Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ground Covers

I'm off to town really early this morning, so I'll not have time right now to finish this post. Enjoy the pictures and I'll tell you all about them while I eat lunch.
Never got back to the computer during lunch, just ate on the run. Anyway, now I have time to comment on these photos. This first one is Saxifrage stolonifera. It is a lovely ground cover for shady places, and as the name indicates, it increases by stolons - just imagine a strawberryplant where a runner starts out and forms a new leaf/plantlet on the end that takes root and then that one makes another plant and another and another. This on runs along bricks edging a bed near my outhouse and covers quite an area near a pond by my root cellar. It is not invasive and never seems to bother other plants. It seems to intertwine with a running Tiarella I have very nicely.

This one is Hydrocotyle 'Crystal Confetti'. Not all of the Hydrocotyles are well behaved. Some of the larger leafed kinds can be quite invasive, but this one is tiny, only an inch or so tall with leaves smaller than a dime. It needs dappled light and doesn't do well in either full shade or full sun. Average garden soil that is neither too wet nor too dry will keep it happy.
Lysimachia numularia 'Aurea' (hope I got that right and spelled correctly) is known around here as Golden Pennywort, thought I think there is another plant also known by that name. It will grow in sun or shade and even in pretty damp places. If in sun, be sure it is not too dry. The more sun, the brighter the gold color. It is bright. This one will kind of creep all over the place, but is easily kept under control and doesn't seem to bother things even when it grows right up close to them. On mild winters it is evergreen here in our garden. Even when it dies back, it regrows so fast in the spring that it doesn't matter.

This cute ground cover is a real miniature with leaves and orchid-like flowers only about an eighth of an inch across. It would probably be good in a garden of miniature plants, but pretty just about anywhere with it's sky blue flowers in the spring and early summer. It crawls over rock walls or just on the ground. We have it in a place with morning sun and dappled afternoon shade and it is quite happy.

This last one is Ajuga 'Caitlin's Giant'. Ajugas are a bit invasive, but make great groundcovers and have spikes of blue, pink or white flowers in the spring. Most are blue. The leaves come in a variety of colors and shapes also. It likes shade or sun, but too much shade is detrimental to some varieties. Caitlin's Giant seems to be the most hardy of the bunch and the largest. Ajugas also increase by runners, though I think they sometimes seed also since I sometimes find patches in new spots.

There are tons more ground covers out there, but these are some of the better behaved ones and pretty easy to grow. Avoid Ivy and Vinca right up around plants because they are not good neighbors except for larger trees. They make excellent ground covers, though, for shady spots where you want to cover a bank or have something spilling over a wall. Vinca now is available in several varieties with variegated leaves and with either the familiar blue flowers or white.
Off to weeding and pruning and potting and digging and planting and ...


Seher said...

could you please add botanical names of these plants????

Hoot Owl Hollow Nursery said...

The only name missing was for the Cymbalaria muralis, the one with the tiny green leaves and tiny orchid like flowers. The rest are listed in the text.