fragrant ground cover - Knowledgebase Question

Kensington, Ma
Question by annkavi
November 24, 2009
what is a good ground cover for shade that has a nice fragrance? thanks

Answer from NGA
November 24, 2009


Two plants to consider are:

Sweet Violet (Viola odorata): also called English Violet, this charming plant is related to the viola species known as ?Johnny Jump-ups? but is a slightly larger plant growing to 12? tall and 18? wide. Sweet violets are ready self-sowers and make an excellent ground cover for naturalizing although viola odorata can be slightly invasive. Gardeners should be prepared to pull up some stray violets in the spring, control with their growth by using edging or mulch or plant them in a fragrant or herbalist garden where their presence will be welcome. Fragrant viola-like flowers appear late winter through early summer. Violets are not only pleasant flowers to look at and to smell, but are also edible and can be used to garnish salads, cakes, and candied for deserts. English violets will grow in full sun or shade but prefer cooler climates and need more shade in hot climates while taking more sun in cool climate gardens.

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum): also known as Our Lady's Lace, grows about 6? tall and prefers moist soil in shady conditions. While sweet woodruff is a fragrant ground cover for shady areas, it can be slightly invasive so plant this perennial in areas that are self contained or mow it down when it encroaches unwanted areas. Galium odoratum won't do well in dry, sunny areas however so gardeners should consider it for rock gardens, herb gardens, or as a ground cover in shady fragrance garden. Mid-summer flowers are white and the aromatic leaves of sweet woodruff hold their fragrance well, even when dried, making them popular in potpourri blends.

Hope one of these is just right for your garden.

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