use ground cover?

Discussion in 'Groundcovers' started by sluggo, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. sluggo

    sluggo Active Member

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    I'm thinking about adding some plants for ground cover in areas such as the photo below. I've used mulch here before and I could maybe go that route again. I had leaves on it all winter but it got kind of messy because we get a lot of branch/twig falling on the area, sidewalk garbage, etc. Basically all the plants get covered and it looks kind of ugly so I like to rake out the leaves. I'm not familiar with using ground covers though. Some concerns I have include: will the cover spread and get uncontrollable; does the cover make weeding even more difficult (even if there are less weeds); many ground covers I've looked at seem to suggest they are suited to rock gardens, which this clearly is not (although I would like to get more rocks!). As well, some of the sage seems to be spreading quite a lot and would this compete with ground cover (would this in fact be the first MMA in Vancouver?).

    Some plants I'm considering are thyme, sedum spathulifolium (Cape Blanco), and arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinick).

    thanks
     

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  2. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If the fence is on the border of your property, you might want to consider putting a root barrier on your side so whatever you plant won't creep under it. I would say your choices won't overrun your garden and will be easy to control. With the litter you mention you might want to consider something that isn't evergreen so you can clean up in fall.

    Newt
     
  3. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    I just want to warn about groundcovers -- in cold winters most of them even "evergreen" ones which are non-shrubby really go dormant and often look as if they have disappeared. They come back, but not sure about this spring... the hardy little thymes are coming back in my garden, and I think the Corsican mint is returning. Blue Star Creeper and cousins are going to be ok. A good choice would be the miniature evergreen shrubs in a nice mulch, or if it's sunny there some colourful heathers [there are winter-blooming ones and then there are summer-blooming ones -- all have to be kept moist and fertilized as they are maturing or they will decline]. Groundcovers are not in a lot of situations the answer, I have found to my disappointment. Small shrubs are better sometimes, there are so many available now -- they have more structure. Groundcovers are wonderful in really small areas or little quirky sections where the setting does evoke a miniature garden...
     
  4. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Janet, those are some really good observations, but with no disrespect meant, I don't agree with your statement:

    I suppose words are subjective, but I don't consider this a "really small area" and I think it looks lovely.
    http://www.perennial-garden-plants.com/images/groundcovers1.jpg

    I think the choice of the right plant for the right place to evoke the look you desire is what is important. I've seen large areas of groundcovers that look wonderful in their setting and smaller groundcovers that didn't seem appropriate and appeared to detract from the setting.

    Just my opinion,
    Newt
     
  5. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member

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    No, I appreciate that. The picture is wonderful. It was my hope that I could use groundcover like that where I am [southern Vancouver Island], not that I was planning to cover such a large area, mind you... I am really obsessed with groundcovers and would like to use more of them. But our climate here although generally temperate, is subject to some cold long winters [this one] and some droughty mid- and late summers. I found some of them go so dormant here owing to cold temperatures that they are invisible in the winter, not that that matters I suppose, but in a commercial or condominium landscaping scenario, it might.

    Well, "Sluggo", take note! Also, during the past couple of years other contributors have planted some wonderful groundcovers, just go back and explore the earlier posts under "Groundcovers". One chap had some in a setting rather like yours which was dramatic, with different shaped patches and colours like a mosaic.

    I guess I should have said, for my purposes, trying to create a small condominium private patch into something with some impact, I have had a bit of trouble with groundcovers having enough "presence", but I am still using them and hoping to emphasize some of them in a better design.

    Glad for your comments, and you are right, it depends on the situation...
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009

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