Answer: The key to success with groundcovers, or any plant, for that matter, is to work plenty of organic matter into the area before planting. Sawdust, manures, compost, leaves and other additives will greatly improve your clay soil. Some of my favorite shadeloving ground covers include creeping Oregon grape, English ivy, lambs ear, Periwinkle and winter creeper. All of these plants fill in thickly and crowd out most weeds. The Oregon grape and periwinkle have nice flowers, and the lambs ear is noted for its fuzzy blue/grey foliage.
If the area is in full sun plant ground cover junipers, bearberry, snowinsummer, sun rose and some of the low growing cotoneasters. Lambs ear can also be grown in full sun. If planting junipers, use those that are low growing and have an attractive turquoise, blue, yellow or light green foliage.
Best wishes with your landscape!
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