Posts Tagged ‘Posts by Mary’
Sedums are long lived, require no maintenance, are easy to grow, have excellent drought tolerance and come in a wide variety of foliage and flower colors.
I love this picture sent in from my friend Bill from Saint Louis. This planting located near a post office consists of a variety of colorful low growing sedums. Brick always reflects heat back up towards plant which just seems to make these tough as nails drought proof groundcover even prettier!
Sedums are probably one of the BEST problem solving plants for tough spots where other plants fail to grow – even on hillsides and banks. The only thing they need is good drainage.
Here are the varieties I would combine to achieve a similar foliage effect:
For even a quicker solution – try SedumSod – an easy mat that installs in seconds!
A real dependable “tough it out” ground cover is Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). Yes it is a mouthful – but oh what an underutilized ground cover for sun to partly shaded areas (or those transitional areas) that is worth growing in your garden.
If you are looking for a moderate spreader that gives you light glossy foliage that looks nice and tidy throughout the growing season (and helps suppress the weeds) Plumbago is definitely a groundcover to consider looking charming beneath shrubs or as an edging plant.
I really like blue flowers which appear in mid summer just when you need a pop of color for the garden. You’ll get some nice fall color too when the foliage turns to a red coppery bronze color. Give it good drainage, and let it do its thing as it thrives on neglect.
Be patient in spring. Plumbago breaks dormancy later that most plants.
- Botanical: Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
- Common: Plumbago
- USDA – Zone 5-8
- Light: Full sun to part shade. Shade in hot afternoon.
- Size: 6-12 inches tall
- Spread: Moderate spread by rhizomes 1-2 feet wide
- Features: Tolerate clay, sand, drought, part shade, sun, deer,
- Uses: Undemanding groundcover
Remember the first perennial garden you personally designed? Mine was a rich riot of color with Daylilies and Rudbeckia. But it was boring – I had achieved a solder like lineup of plants with similar heights.
Add Highs to your Lows with Vertical Elements
So what now? I realized I needed some height along with different sizes and shape to gain balance and flow -so I added a few vertical plants namely Miscanthus and was really happy with the results.
Rhamnus Fine Line®
In the past few years, I discovered a wonderful vertical plant called Rhamnus Fine Line®
that combines the texture of an ornamental grass with Zone 3 hardiness. Rhamnus grows around 6 feet and the fact that it only gets around 24” wide – you have a perfect complement to any border in a sun to partly shaded site.
Unlike a Miscanthus, Fine Line® does not need to be pruned down to the ground every spring – it just flushes out with fresh new ferny like foliage which can be trimmed to any shape.
The soft ferny foliage is so lovely when planted in groups of 3 or more. It makes a terrific background plant and a medium sized Hedge Plant. Try it with Knock Out Roses, Buddleia Blue Chip, or other moderate size shrubs. It also makes a terrific container plant with season long interest Rhamnus is 98% sterile so it is noninvasive. Fall brings on a brilliant gold color.
This deer & drought proof deciduous shrub is a delightful medium sized vertical plant in almost any size garden.
Here is a sun perennial combination idea for your garden with 3 easy to grow garden plants
For season long interest I like using perennial plants that will give me 3 seasons of foliage color.
For long season flowering color, I added COREOPSIS STAR CLUSTER which grows up to 15″ – so plant in the back). Star Cluster picks up the deep red color in the center. Another alternative to Star Cluster would be a yellow flowering Coreopsis such as Creme Brule or Moonbeam.
All these perennials are easy to grow in full sun and well drained soil while providing season long interest in your perennial garden.
What would you combine Sedum Cherry Tart with?
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