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Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Aug 24, 2014 9:01 AM CST
I've been experimenting with groundcovers. I have a number of purposes, one being to, over time, replace lawn area, and another being to have more "living mulch" between and among the larger, showier plants.

I started at a tight curve of Hannah's corner, because it was an area where nothing at all was growing -- not even weeds, not even grass! until I forked some manure into the soil and mulched and watered it. Then, the grass sprouts started to find the place more hospitable but by now I've plucked most of that out.

I wanted to find plants that would take foot traffic, because this section is right beside the only access to the back yard from the front yard and it bound to be stepped on. Also, for the other purposes, foot traffic toleration was important.

I started by looking online for groundcovers that take foot traffic and chose some to look for. Some were old friends and some were, and are, new to me. Some that I want I have yet to find, but I have a good start now and that little section of Hannah's corner is doing really well.

So this is a little tour of my groundcovers so far. Some of these will also start showing up (as I take plugs) in the other beds, over time.

Thumb of 2014-08-24/kylaluaz/0dc7a0 Leptinella spp. known as Brass Buttons. There are a number of named varieties (or is it cultivars??) and I don't know which this is. It doesn't look like much but it's amazing it survived right there. That spot is at the very end of the bed and is diretly under roof runnoff. Because even brass buttons is having a hard time there I am thinking I will move this little surviver and let the neighbors who are doing better grow to cover.


Thumb of 2014-08-24/kylaluaz/dd5644 Such as Lobelia chinensis here. It's doing great.

And the wooly thyme also adjacent.Thumb of 2014-08-24/kylaluaz/41dba7 I have two patches of that, next to each other.

Thumb of 2014-08-24/kylaluaz/cf71fbAlso upstream is this Corsican sandwort, or Arenaria baleariea. I've tried to grow this before and not had great success; here it is doing better and I hope it will flourish. It's a beautiful little plant.

By the way, all of these have flowers, just not now (except the lobelia).

Thumb of 2014-08-24/kylaluaz/00d632 I've got two varieties of creeping thyme, next to each other, filling in nicely. I don't recall what their names are but these will have red and pink flowers.

There are also two plugs of something called green carpet, or Herniaria glabra. It's doing well but at this stage it looks so much like the creeping thyme there's no point in a picture. It also will not have noticeable flowers I understand (tiny white ones that, the tag says, "pass without notice.")

Finally, there are two plugs of Turkish Speedwell, Thumb of 2014-08-24/kylaluaz/370d5f Veronica liwanensis. This is doing beautifully and I really want to get a lot more of it.

This post is long enough! so I'll say more later if need be. Green Grin!

[Last edited by kylaluaz - Aug 24, 2014 9:02 AM (+)]
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Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 24, 2014 10:45 AM CST

Moderator

Very nice selection of groundcovers, Kyla! I especially like the thyme varieties and the Turkish speedwell-- very pretty.

Right now I'm seriously thinking about Chamomile nobile. I have a spot of it growing and it does spread. It's just so lush and thick, with tiny daisy-like blooms.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Aug 24, 2014 11:10 AM CST
I intend to grow a lot of that, Catmint, but so far in this garden I have been thwarted. If I have to order plants, though, I will! However, I believe the seeds I got are not viable. I'm going to test germinate a few, and see. I have grown it from seed and will probably order more seed from elsewhere for my winter sowing.

I didn't mention my creeping jenny! It's not great for foot traffic but in places where that's not an issue I expect to use some of it.

Sadly, however, I was unaware of the neonicitinoid issue when I bought most of these. Some are from a supplier named "Steppables" who are entirely growing and selling groundcovers that can be walked on and supplying garden centers with them. They only sell by the flat. I don't know what they use, just that they are growing many types of groundcovers that can take foot traffic, shade lovers as well as sun lovers, for the expanding market who want to replace lawn grass! Of course, none of these need ever be mowed, which is a plus for many.
[Last edited by kylaluaz - Aug 24, 2014 11:12 AM (+)]
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Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 24, 2014 1:33 PM CST

Moderator

I've seen steppables and have purchased a few. Do they use pesticides?? Of course I shouldn't be surprised Glare
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Aug 24, 2014 1:34 PM CST
I have no idea! We should check them out. I mean, after all, one big reason to choose flowering herbs such as thyme is for the bees and butterflies.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 24, 2014 1:36 PM CST

Moderator

Yes excellent point!
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Teri
Mount Bethel, PA
Charter ATP Member Region: Pennsylvania Hibiscus Container Gardener Clematis Region: Northeast US
Annuals Echinacea Winter Sowing Seed Starter Lilies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Roses_R_Red
Aug 27, 2014 9:35 AM CST
I use all kinds of ground cover for "living mulch". Most of them can't be continually stepped on, but do take some foot traffic. My seeds come in bulk from outsidepride.com.
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Aug 27, 2014 9:54 AM CST
Hey, Roses, thanks for that input and source info. In lots of cases, foot traffic isn't an issue, so it's good to have a wide array of choices.

I know lots of people like ajuga (was it JB who talked about considering that?) and also vinca. I don't like vinca although I think it's attractive. I find it very difficult to work with; if you decide you don't want it where it wants to be, it's hard to root it out. Plus it takes a long time for it to actually cover ground. Matting plants like thyme, you know where they are and where they aren't, which is an advantage I appreciate.

Editing: Would you name some of what you use? That's a great link, by the way. Wish I hadn't just ordered a bunch of seeds already this morning!
[Last edited by kylaluaz - Aug 27, 2014 9:57 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #688322 (8)
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 27, 2014 9:59 AM CST

Moderator

That has been my experience with vinca as well--too hard to pull out!--even though the flowers are pretty in springtime. Ajuga is okay, but the foliage (to me) isn't attractive enough to want it everywhere!
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Teri
Mount Bethel, PA
Charter ATP Member Region: Pennsylvania Hibiscus Container Gardener Clematis Region: Northeast US
Annuals Echinacea Winter Sowing Seed Starter Lilies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Roses_R_Red
Aug 27, 2014 10:26 AM CST
My ground covers are:

Sedum Kamtschaticum
Sedum Dragon's Blood
Sedum Voodoo
Ajuga...Black Scallop, Chocolate Chip and Burgundy Glow
Thyme
Delosperma Cooperi
Several Lamiums
Vinca (in an area where I want it to just keep spreading)

I just drop seeds everywhere there is a "bald" spot.
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
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LysmachiaMoon
Aug 27, 2014 10:35 AM CST
I've discovered a very good groundcover for shade, even dry shade. It's a miniature comfrey. It grows only about 6-10 inches tall and has delicate cream-white flowers in spring. The leaves are coarse, dark green, and hairy, very much like standard comfrey only much smaller. It spreads quickly and fills in an area thickly; it looks like it could be invasive but on the other hand, it roots by runners along the top of the ground so I've found it very easy to control. Just grab a handful and rip it out. I would not recommend it for growing in/around delicate perennials, but it is working pretty well around some established hostas. It's a little to "thick" to be comfortably walked on I think, but it is tough enough to hold up to some foot traffic. I'd recommend it under trees where not much else will grow. I'm hoping to establish a big patch of it under some mature silver maples; the ground immediately under them is so dry only lemon balm and a few weeds will grow there.

BTW: THANK YOU! I'm always looking for groundcovers. This thread has some great info!
The end is nothing, the journey is all.
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
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LysmachiaMoon
Aug 27, 2014 12:27 PM CST
Also...(sorry not trying to dominate the thread), the common "Heal-All" Prunella vulgaris does very well as a groundcover here in my garden. I have a variety that came up "wild" in the lawn and it withstands mowing and still flowers (lovely little purple flowers). Seems to do well especially in shady areas. I'm letting it take over a section of shaded grass where I'd like to have a "flower lawn" instead of a grass lawn. Very tidy plant, not at all invasive.
The end is nothing, the journey is all.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 27, 2014 12:41 PM CST

Moderator

I'm not familiar with that one, Annie. Sounds very nice! Do you have any photos you can share?
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
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kylaluaz
Aug 27, 2014 6:27 PM CST
And Annie, you're not dominating at all -- my hope is we'll all share whatever we know or want to know about groundcovers, so thanks very much, and thanks to you also, Rose -- I'll look up all of those and check them out.

I've never encountered miniature comfrey but it sounds wonderful. Way cool! Thumbs up
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 27, 2014 6:49 PM CST

Moderator

I totally agree with Kyla--Annie, your comments are always welcome! :-)
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Teri
Mount Bethel, PA
Charter ATP Member Region: Pennsylvania Hibiscus Container Gardener Clematis Region: Northeast US
Annuals Echinacea Winter Sowing Seed Starter Lilies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Roses_R_Red
Aug 28, 2014 5:27 AM CST
I agree Annie. I'm not finding a place that sells seeds for the miniature comfrey. Did you grow yours from seed?
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
Composter Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Herbs Daylilies Sempervivums
Frogs and Toads Container Gardener Cat Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! The WITWIT Badge Winter Sowing
Image
kylaluaz
Aug 28, 2014 5:38 AM CST
Rose, I found a UK source: http://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/flower_seed_categorie...

My question is, are we looking for grandiflorum or ibericum? I think grandiflorum is the one but don't have enough really to base that opinion on. Gosh, you'd think there'd be a US source but I also don't find one.

Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
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LysmachiaMoon
Aug 28, 2014 5:56 AM CST
If anyone wants miniature comfrey plants I can send them! I never saw or heard of this stuff before a few years ago when I bought a plant at a local plant sale. The lady selling it thought it was lungwort. I am terrible with a camera, but will try to get pics. Contact me if you want free plants!
The end is nothing, the journey is all.
Name: Teri
Mount Bethel, PA
Charter ATP Member Region: Pennsylvania Hibiscus Container Gardener Clematis Region: Northeast US
Annuals Echinacea Winter Sowing Seed Starter Lilies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Image
Roses_R_Red
Aug 28, 2014 6:13 AM CST
Looks like I'd be looking for the shorter ones: Sky Blue Pink. The yellow ones come 5 seeds in a packet, but I can't seem to find how many are in the Sky Blue Pink packet .....unless it's only ONE. I would love some miniature comfrey Annie. I'd love to send you something in return, also. Would you like some kind of ground cover, Lisianthus, or a perennial???
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Aug 28, 2014 7:03 AM CST

Moderator

I'd really love some too Annie! I have seeds also I could send you.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso

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