Archive for May, 2012
Need a fast spreading drought proof groundcover that will grow beneath trees?
Ajuga or Bugleweed is easy to grow and virtually maintenance free perennial groundcover for hard to grow places. I’m particularly fond of Chocolate Chip Ajuga (‘Valfredda’) where it can easily cover an 18” area in just one season. It is one of my favorite ground covers beneath trees where other groundcover struggle and it looks great year-round!
Ajuga is a deer proof evergreen groundcover with vibrant foliage and showy purple flowers in spring. Low growing mats are only 3” tall. Hardy to Zone 4-9, It thrives in both sun and shade.
Growing anything under trees can be difficult. First of all, trees create a “rain shadow” where it is always drier beneath a tree. Secondly, some trees such as maples, poplars and willow have heavy feeder roots that rest near the surface, making it virtually impossible to grow, let alone even dig a hole for planting.
Ajuga is ideal with its shallow roots that grow within just a few inches of the ground. It competes effectively between tree roots and drier conditions while spreading quickly by way of runners. Runners are easily removed if it gets beyond its bounds.
Ajuga is not a groundcover for everybody or to be placed in a mixed perennial border.
Ajuga is one of the best groundcovers for weed control. Weeds find it tough to sprout through their thick root system.
- Avoid “Ajuga lawn” by planting away from turf or you’ll have a co-mingling of lawn & Ajuga.
- Don’t plant anything nearby unless you are using beneath shrubs or trees.
- Thick root system makes Ajuga ideal for erosion control
- Ideal between pavers
- Excellent for large areas where you want to have a quick spread
- Ideal under shallow rooted trees where nothing else will grow
Climbing Hydrangea or Hydrangea anomala petiolaris is one of the few hardy flowering vines that will tolerate shade.
This colossal climbing vine requires sturdy support (such as a tree) and thrives in part shade conditions. A fast growing deciduous vine, climbing Hydrangeas will grow 30 feet tall or more. It is hardy from Zones 4-9.
This climber clings by tentacles (like ivy) on any surface. It’s easy to train up a tree. Once planted, simply lay the stems near the tree and it will stick like super glue. You never have to do anything to them except an occasional prune to keep them within bounds.
Attractive green heart-shaped glossy foliage is accented with showy white fragrant lace-cap type blooms in early summer.
If grown as a ground cover it can cover up to 200 square feet once established.
Give Hydrangea fertile, moist, well drained soil.
Climbing Hydrangea can take a couple of years to establish itself in the landscape, so it requires a bit of patience. After 2 years or so, they really take off. I can tell you it is definitely worth the wait as it offers the most stunning vertical beauty for any shade garden.
Feather Reed Grass or Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ is definitely one of my favorite ornamental grasses to use as a privacy screen, low growing hedge or to add vertical height to the perennial garden.
This non-flopping, sun-loving vertical grass is a delightful accent that is both easy to grow and easy to maintain. The slightest breeze sets this grass in motion.
Professional landscapers and garden designers love using Calamagrostis for creating a fast developing screen or Hedge Plant.
Calamagrostis will add height while create a focal point or accent in the sun loving perennial garden.
Facts about Calamagrostis Karl Foerster:
- Grows up to 60” (in flower)
- Tolerates a wide range of soil from clay to dry sand
- Blooms early in the season (most grasses bloom late)
- Drought Tolerant once established
- Deer Proof
- Winter Interest
- Salt Tolerant
- Low maintenance
- Landscape appeal from summer thru winter.
- Long lasting cut flowers
- Virtually pest free
The only thing I do in the spring is cut back the stems to about 6 inches from the ground in late winter or early spring.
If you are looking for a an easy perennial to grow and maintain, this ornamental grass might be just the ticket.