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Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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csandt
Jul 4, 2015 2:50 PM CST
Last fall I planted a large shrub border (about 20 feet wide by 100 feet long) as a buffer along the road. I left room between shrubs for future growth and mulched, using a layer of newspapers covered by pine bark nuggets, except on slopes. Mulching with newspapers and pine bark kept the weeds at bay for a while, but recently they have broken through and are taking over. It is even worse on the sloped edges which I planted with peonies and oriental poppies and mulched with finely ground hardwood (no newspapers). On the slopes, the weeds are thriving and are taller than the peonies and poppies. I am in the process of removing the weeds, and I would like to use a reasonably priced ground-cover instead of or in addition to the mulch. Any suggestions?
Carol Sandt
"Hope is the simple trust that God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.” - W. Paul Jones in "Trumpet at Full Moon"
Name: Kyla
Richmond, VA (Zone 6b)
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kylaluaz
Jul 4, 2015 3:17 PM CST
Have a look at Steppables.com -- even if you don't buy from them (they only sell by the flat) they provide lots of information about numerous groundcovers as to growing conditions needed and tolerated etc. As the name implies, all these will take some amount of foot traffic, which is possibly not a concern for you, but it is still a good place to start looking at what's available.
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Catmint20906
Jul 4, 2015 3:32 PM CST

Moderator

hi, CS. Welcome to the Midatlantic Gardening forum!
What's the light and moisture like on the slope?
I found this article on native groundcovers in Pennsylvania, in case it is useful.
http://extension.psu.edu/plants/master-gardener/counties/mon....

I've been trying a lot of different groundcovers in my own yard--mostly because I can't make up my mind what I like best! Hilarious!
I find that small sedums work really well for sunnier, drier areas, as does moss phlox. Creeping jenny is also good for sunny areas, as is creeping speedwell. Bugleweed does well in part sun, as does sweet woodruff, which spreads pretty quickly. I have Sedum sarmentosum planted on a sloping, difficult to reach area that gets afternoon sun, and I like it there.

For shadier areas, I've planted several natives, including golden groundsel, mayapple, bloodroot, Chrysogonum virginianum (Golden Star), and allegheny spurge. These colonize more slowly.

Let us know what you go with! Thumbs up






"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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csandt
Jul 6, 2015 3:00 AM CST
Thank your for suggesting moss phlox. I have a small amount of moss phlox in a sun/shade garden, where it is very happy and beautiful. If it will grow that well in a sunnier setting, that would be ideal.My new shrub border can be hot and drought-prone, although thankfully that has not been a problem in 2015. Moss phlox is described as drought-resistant, so I am very hopeful. After reading about it, I conclude that spring is the time to plant it, so I think that I will wait until then.

I have never seen creeping jenny, although I will certainly look for it.

I found the Steppables website very interesting and useful information. Thanks for telling me about it. It contains very helpful snippets of information about creeping jenny but nothing that I could find about moss phlox, unless I was looking in the wrong place.

Thanks to both of you for your helpful replies!

cs

Carol Sandt
"Hope is the simple trust that God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.” - W. Paul Jones in "Trumpet at Full Moon"
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
Jul 6, 2015 4:45 AM CST

Moderator

Moss phlox sounds like a great choice! So pretty when it blooms in the spring. In my experience, it does well in sunny areas.

I have Creeping Jenny 'Aurea' which is sort of a golden color.

Thumb of 2015-07-06/Catmint20906/d21059

"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)
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kylaluaz
Jul 6, 2015 9:26 AM CST
Creeping jenny needs a fair amount of water, I've discovered, and does best in partial shade, in my garden anyway.

For hot dry areas woolly thyme and creeping thyme 'Magic Carpet' seem to do best here.

You might want something less ground-hugging, and ajuga could work. Not my favorite just because it doesn't take enough foot traffic and I'm just personally not fond of its appearance.
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
Jul 6, 2015 3:36 PM CST

Moderator

Agree they do best in medium to moist soil rather than dryer soil. The golden variety I have does well with lots of sun.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
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ssgardener
Jul 7, 2015 9:50 AM CST
I love this topic! Because I dislike turf grass and hate weeding. Big Grin

In a hot dry area, creeping phlox is a great solution. So are sedums! I have various sedum including Angelina, Dragons's Blood and a bunch of others that do a great job if suppressing weeds. I highly recommend getting an evergreen sedum so that you're not having to compete with winter weeds.

In a hot dry slope, creeping Jenny will not spread fast enough for you. I'm going to try to look up my sedum pics for you.

Oh, and thyme should do well for you but my area is just a little too humid for it, I think. It tends to get rot and seems to be short lived.
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
Sedums Container Gardener Bulbs Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Region: Mid-Atlantic
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ssgardener
Jul 7, 2015 9:54 AM CST
Found a picture. That's sedum Angelina under the hydrangea.
Thumb of 2015-07-07/ssgardener/d91d39

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
Jul 7, 2015 10:44 AM CST

Moderator

Agree that creeping phlox and sedums are probably best solution for sunny dry area!
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 7, 2015 11:40 AM CST
"Oh, and thyme should do well for you but my area is just a little too humid for it, I think. It tends to get rot and seems to be short lived."

I live in a hot and very dry climate out west with awful soil and have found that wooly thyme is my best ground cover, but I do have to make sure that I pull it away from the crowns of other plants so that they can breath because it does create a very thick matt.

Thumb of 2015-07-07/RoseBlush1/015c93

(note: in the photo above, both the rose and thyme have just come through more than a week of triple digit temps. The rose is shutting down for summer dormancy. The thyme is just chugging along.

It is not short lived for me. The patch around that rose has been there for more than 5 years.

However, some, but not all weeds will growth through them. I think the thick matt discourages a lot of weed seed.

I have excellent drainage in my garden and since it does so well, I am thinking thyme needs very good drainage to thrive.

Since I am a certifiable klutz, I do step on it when working on the roses and it seems to tolerate that quite well, too.

Sedums have been good ground covers for areas where I don't walk. They cannot take any foot traffic.

I've heard about a red creeping thyme that I may try in other areas of the garden for some contrast and plan to add some creeping phlox, too. I've been told that creeping jenny can act like kudzu when it is happy.

Just some thoughts from someone gardening in a very different climate.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
Sedums Container Gardener Bulbs Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Region: Mid-Atlantic
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ssgardener
Jul 7, 2015 2:37 PM CST
Rosebush, I think you might be in the perfect environment for creeping thyme.

I've tried maybe five different thyme varieties and all but one has rotted. It's too bad because I LOVE wooly thyme and tried it at least twice before I gave up. I love your roses with thyme!

PA is a bit cooler and less humid so it may work!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 7, 2015 3:41 PM CST
ssgardener ...

I don't think humidity is the issue. I live in what is termed a wet Mediterranean climate. When we are not in extreme drought, I get heavy rain and some snow from December through April. Of course, during the true winter months, the thyme is affected by the cold and tends to die back, but as we move through spring towards summer, it comes back strong and beautiful.

I think the real key is drainage. That's through observation. As others on this forum will tell you, I freely admit to being a novice gardener in all things gardening, except for roses.

I think, if you have good drainage, you might want to try it again ... Smiling

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
Sedums Container Gardener Bulbs Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Region: Mid-Atlantic
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ssgardener
Jul 7, 2015 4:18 PM CST
From what I've read, it's actually both humidity and drainage.

According to Fine Gardening: "Humidity is thyme’s chief enemy.... Unless you have a site with excellent air circulation, avoid thymes with woolly or hairy foliage, since they are most susceptible to humidity-induced rot."

They tend to "melt out" during hot and humid summers. In fact, I've lost most of the thyme in the summer when they just melted away, even during droughty summers. I don't think I've ever lost one in the winter. I follow a local blogger who writes for GardenRant.com and lawnreform.org, and she also has lost most of her thyme in the summer due to them melting out.

Thankfully, culinary thyme has done really well for me because it doesn't have the kind of leaves that make it difficult to transpire water. Thumbs up
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 7, 2015 4:28 PM CST
Ah, ha ! Thank you for the information.

I do live in an arid climate, so I would have never seen the thyme "melt out."

I do have a lot to learn about gardening.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
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
Jul 9, 2015 11:50 AM CST

Moderator

ssgardener said:From what I've read, it's actually both humidity and drainage.

According to Fine Gardening: "Humidity is thyme’s chief enemy.... Unless you have a site with excellent air circulation, avoid thymes with woolly or hairy foliage, since they are most susceptible to humidity-induced rot."

They tend to "melt out" during hot and humid summers. In fact, I've lost most of the thyme in the summer when they just melted away, even during droughty summers. I don't think I've ever lost one in the winter. I follow a local blogger who writes for GardenRant.com and lawnreform.org, and she also has lost most of her thyme in the summer due to them melting out.

Thankfully, culinary thyme has done really well for me because it doesn't have the kind of leaves that make it difficult to transpire water. Thumbs up


hey, Terri--so funny you should mention this--just this morning I noticed that part of my thyme, blooming nicely just the other day, had turned dark and died! I agree it's probably the wetness.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 9, 2015 1:01 PM CST
SS ...

You got me thinking about groundcovers and since I don't like lawns all that much, I did a Google search and found this site.

http://eartheasy.com/grow_lawn_alternatives.htm

Since I already have clover invading my garden, instead of calling it a weed, I may just reclassify it as a groundcover and use it differently.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
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
Jul 9, 2015 1:14 PM CST

Moderator

I started letting a lot of my clover grow last summer. I'll pull out large clumps here and there, or thin it where it's invading something I actually planted on purpose, but I basically decided it has a lot of benefits, is abundant and free, and better (prettier and more beneficial) than a lot of the weeds that sprout up.
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 9, 2015 1:17 PM CST
Thanks for the info Cat.

I think I am going to treat my clover the same way. However, I have found it does smother some of the plants I do like, so I'll have to keep a watch on it.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
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
Jul 9, 2015 4:23 PM CST
Dang. That's got to be what's happened to some of my thyme groundcover, especially the wooly. I did just buy seeds of Magic Carpet (the red flowering creeping thyme) because it seems to do better than the wooly in this climate, but I just saw a patch of it that had turned dead on me all of a sudden.

But yes, Thymus vulgaris does just fine here.

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