Groundcover I can walk on

Discussion in 'Groundcovers' started by Candy, May 4, 2005.

  1. Candy

    Candy Active Member

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    Hi: We are taking out our front lawn (about 15'X20') and replacing it with a rockery and perennial/annual garden. We're putting in stepping stones to allow access for weeding, etc., and are looking for a low ground cover to fill in around the stones. A friend recommended Wooly Thyme, but I haven't had any luck in finding any in the Lower Mainland.

    I'd appreciate any input re: experience with Wooly Thyme as a perennial groundcover (care/spread, etc.) in the Vancouver area and any recommendations as to where I can find some.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Rising Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    I think any of the low growing thymes would be good. You might consider Corsican mint as well, it smells nice when you step on it.
     
  3. Candy

    Candy Active Member

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    Any idea where I can find some in the Lower Mainland? I've phoned a few nurseries and had no luck.
     
  4. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    try Ground Effects wholesale nursery in Langley, or Heritage perennials in Abbotsford (they carry Stepables) and ask them for a local retailer.
     
  5. lavenderflowerpot

    lavenderflowerpot Member

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    Good morning,
    Corsican Mint is a favourite of mine, it may have some die off times but it always returns , and I always keep a Mother pot going to use for extra plantings.

    I also love the varieties of Chamomile . The taller flowering ones , I remove the flowers and dry them for pot-pourri .

    There is a lower growing Chamomile non-flowering, still aromatic, but apparently somewhat less vigourous variety "Treneague" .
    that is the one which is used for Chamomile lawns

    (height 3cm. can) be also used for teas)
    must be increased by offsets, or divisions, it spreads by itself of course , but no seeds as it rarely has a flower.

    I think there is nothing more pleasant than working around the garden , kneeling to weed , and having oneself enveloped with the fragrances of Corsican Mint and Chamomile !
    I have always been able to locate these two at a Gardenworks nursery although I have not found "Treneague " as of yet in the local nurseries. (lower Fraser Valley)

    http://www.jekkasherbfarm.com/herbofmonth.htm (info)

    http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/faqs/culi-2-7-chamo.html

    ( a discussion thread I browsed through )


    Hope this is also of some help for you.
    Cheers,
    C.
     
  6. stargrass

    stargrass Member

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    Hmmm... What about mosses? Doesn't one variey have tiny pink flowers? I think this would be beautiful!
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    Mosses are non-flowering plants, but there are many flowering plants with similar appearances to mosses that you might be thinking of.
     
  8. stargrass

    stargrass Member

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    So... Are they not also nice for a ground cover? if so, let the lady know of the names and other info so she may continue to be inspired! Especially considering the moss-like groundcover that I formerly mentioned...
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    Hi stargrass, I'd love to if I could, but I'm afraid I'm ignorant of what might work. One day I'd love to have a garden where I would have such plants, but until such time, I don't feel I have the experiences to expertly comment on what might work for the situation.
     
  10. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    i think the moss like plant you are thinking of is scotch moss and irish moss. the Species name is Sagina
     
  11. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    The flowers on the scotch-type mosses are white. Mossy-looking plants with pink flowers might be Armeria (aka Thrift). All these, and most of what is mentioned above, are for full sun and can take it dry. Mosses need shade and moisture, and an acidic environment.
     
  12. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    I have just been in the flower garden and as I was pulling up a mountain of oregano it struck me that this might be good ground cover for you. My lawn grass suffers from mixture of sandy soil, drought and the dog but the self seeded oregano seems to thrive and stays quite low with regular lawn cutting. It smells nice too.
    On the Sunshine Coast, as part of the water conservation initiative, one can win a "golden lawn award" but my lawn always has areas of green oregano!!
    Margaret
     
  13. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    I should add a caution about oregano - it is very invasive as I know to my back's cost.
    Margaret
     
  14. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Hi Candy,

    Keep the search on for wooly thymus...My corsican mint does not like to be tread on, Sempivivum spp. works wonders in a rockery and stepping on them sounds cruel, but they persevere!Mosses are great for Northern exposed front lawns, otherwise stick to succulents and ground creepers...so much to choose from! Keep up the search, or ask for cutings from mentors!
    KB
     
  15. Candy

    Candy Active Member

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    Hi all: I'd forgotten this post, then saw it pop up again. I did manage to find some wooly thyme -- in my mother-in-law's Prince George garden. A small transplant last summer now covers about 3-square-feet and has supplied starter hunks for the back of my rock garden, and between stepping stones (she's quite envious at how much better it's doing in my garden than in hers, but since her growing season is 3 months shorter, it's not surprising).

    The Corsican mint I tried is holding its own, but not spreading. Scotch moss ditto.

    I also managed to find some seed for a low-growing thyme -- magic carpet. When mature, it's about 1" tall with pink flowers; I'll let you know how it does as it is little sprouts in milk jugs at this point.

    Thanks for the continuing input.
     
  16. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    I have corsican mint spreading quite nicely on a sandy based medium...I just have to remember to water more frequently...
     
  17. Palm Nut

    Palm Nut Active Member 10 Years of Activity

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    we just purchased a house this spring with corsican mint in the backyard. There are many bald spots that need to be filled while cleaning up the beds, I noticed the lovely scent it gives off. I would love to find more to fill in the holes. I'm too impatient to wait for it to fill in naturally. Any suggestions where I might find some at this late in the season? I'm in Vancouver. Is there more than one variety of corsican mint?
     
  18. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    creeping charlie might work as well; I had a lawn of it in Zone 3a and it did beautifully. It has a lovely lavender-mint smell when you step on it or mow it. However it's pretty invasive....
     
  19. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    Note my earlier post: "I just want to point out re the above that "Corsican mint" [Menta requienii] is not the same as "Corsican sandwort" [Arenaria balearica] which latter I have, now -- the website "www.rainyside.com" mentions that Corsican mint is not evergreen, and needs moisture, although lovely, and says Elfin Thyme provides a better between-stone pathways groundcover, tolerating more dryness [therefore better all-over groundcover?]. I am trying Elfin Thyme in paving-stone cracks on a patio, and so far it seems to be "taking", with minimal watering. I am not sure that Corsican sandwort is evergreen in the true sense, although the plastic tag says it is, and I hope so, as it is a tough little plant, and very delicate-looking with tiny star-like white flowers [earlier in the summer]... and I have decided to try it in a front-garden driveway border in fairly large quantity."

    The Elfin Thyme seems to spread quite well in my enclosed patio, but it does NOT like animal urine and the leaves all across the top turned pitch black, I noticed [never saw that before], a day or two after HRH Jennie housecat got at a bit of it... so I have covered a growing patch up with a low fence with some netting across until it joins up into a carpet and she decides it's not scratchable ground...

    I have some woolly thyme, as well, and am trying that -- it seems quite vigorous. Any really major plant nursery should carry the various groundcovers, but less so right now than early in the summer and later on in the fall when they plant more successfully I think...

    When encouraging a groundcover to grow I sometimes divide pieces of what's there and replant them in the larger spaces... it seems to work. Unless Vancouver is having moist weather, it can be difficult to get something to spread and develop roots in mid-summer, but keep it moist.
     
  20. bluejenny

    bluejenny Member

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    I work at an outdoor music venue with 90,000 plus visitors in a 3-month period in the dry Central Oregon climate. Wooly thyme is the only bedding flower that has not suffered from the onslaught of pedestrian traffic. Just this July it survived a 7- day stretch with no water, 95+ degree (F) temperatures, 6 concerts and 17,000 trampeling feet...and still looks beautiful.
     
  21. Georgie

    Georgie Member

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    I remember a catalog offering a 'walk-on me' plant... I wonder what that was?
     
  22. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member

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    This has been an interesting discussion on a popular topic. Thanks! I think that the pink flowered 'moss' might be a saxifrage.
     

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  23. SOOENG

    SOOENG Member

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    Does anyone think I can replace grass with woolly thyme? Would this be a good idea?
     
  24. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    I am experimenting with low thymes in my Victoria patio, hardly a full lawn... I find Elfin Thyme is marvellous for "flatness" and "greenness" and does produce a tiny pink bloom mid-summer and maybe more often here... my label says Thymus serpyllum "Elfin". It doesn't show dryness shock [go brown], it loves moisture but supports dryness! Cat pee and probably dog pee turned a small patch of it black! I have just planted some Woolly Thyme [Thymus pseudolanuginosus] and it has survived the longest while in little planter pots stuck in a large tray with a bit of water on the bottom... the photo label of the Woolly Thyme shows a huge area planted in it... I think you would be fine with either one as a lawn, and I would love to see a lawn planted this way and how it would look. What a wonderful experiment... However, it would take some courage to invest in enough small plants to fill up a lawn area... either one would work, I think, and survive in either dry-ish or moist-ish conditions... but how much would it cost to plant the small planters of it one can buy in a nursery, and how many of them would you need? However, I think it would be a fantastic idea and eliminate mowing. One should roll the area firmly after planting to flatten everything out, if you want it flat, and periodically after that. One will have to pull the occasional weed. Other types of thyme grow an inch or two higher and these two seem to be consistently super-low...
     
  25. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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