Evergreen Groundcovers

ricksample(6)January 9, 2012

With all the photos posted the last couple months I've noticed a lot of low growing ground covers around the conifers. This coming spring I would like to start adding some to my beds that will hopefully cut down the need to add mulch in the future years.

One of the companies that I order conifers from is offering a 9 pack of creeping thyme - 9 different varietys for $16. I don't know anything about creeping thyme or if I should go this route. What does everyone here use? Pics?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what the heck are you talking about. ..

ground covers ... crimminey ...

you visit friends gardens.. and ask for a piece of everything ... in a year or two.. you got enough to .. get this.. cover ground ...

i mean really.. if you were to walk into my garden.. i would let you take all the sedum you would want.. fill the whole trunk[its drought proof] ... lamium.. wait . 10 varieties of sedum ... day lily ... heck i cant even think of all that carp i got out there .. hens and chicks... forget me nots.. ...

you really want to pay money for it??? dont you have any garden friends???

thymes are ok ... i am not sure how drought resistant they are ... there is really no point in planting conifers.. or trees.. that will e free range in a year or two.. if you are going to interplant stuff that needs to be watered all the time ... in fact.. that is how i ended up with conifers.. they need no water.. ever.. after the second year ...

ken

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 4:38PM
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wisconsitom

Hehe^^^....creeping thyme is plenty drought-tolerant.

+oM

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 5:50PM
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tunilla

And once you've got it, you'll never again run out of Thyme... T.
PS Ken, I think you should send this man a sackload of Sedums etc. They're excellent companion plants for dwarf conifers amongst a few rocks etc. You know the scene! T.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 6:08PM
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harv2016

What Ken said, once you get sedums and pachysandras growing you can propagate the plants easily. I give bucket loads away to freinds and like you use them exstensively to cover ground in my plantings. I'd just wait till spring and get them cheap at a box store. At times the box stores have a real decent assortment

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 6:47PM
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ricksample(6)

The thymes are $1.77 each, a lot cheaper than a $40 ground covering conifer. Plus it'll take up space that I would otherwise have to replace with mulch. I'm not planning to add a lot of these.

I think Ken you said you get mulch free, but I tried all last year and came up empty. Now that I think of it, I had one person give me free mulch last year... he dropped it off and it was merely saw dust/dirt. I tossed it all at the end of my property. I should have told him to take it back... that isn't mulch.. it's dirt... but that's a story for another time lol.

Right now I have a few large beds finished; All the main conifers are added, wood chips down, etc By the end of this year, I should have all the beds created, mulched, everything on my first 1.5 acres. This year I was also hoping to go back through some of those beds and add some ground covers, rocks, more conifers & day lilies.. Perhaps each year add a few new things to each bed so they will fill in nicely and I won't have to worry about mulching as much every few years. Mainly conifers, don't get me wrong.

As far as watering... I'm not sure. Before I started with conifers, I had hostas, day lilies, shrubs, azaleas, etc. I don't think I watered any of those... ever. If the ground covers required water after a year of being in the ground, I would let them die out... lesson learned. But if they do well, it could save me a pretty penny down the road plus add to the overall appearance.

I'm sure you have seen Daves photo... I think companion plants look real nice with the conifers.

Sorry Dave, I had to steel this for a second =)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 7:01PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Rick,

Thyme would be perfect for you. It is very drought tolerant and I never water mine.

Here are a few that are really nice:
Thyme
Thymus x citriodorus 'Aureus' - It has gold variegated leaves and has a wonderful lemon scent when stepped on. This one gets about 10" tall.
Thymus pseudolanuginosus 'Woolly Thyme' - This one is my favorite. It is a soft greenish gray color, it is a very flat spreading thyme. This one is about 1" tall.
Thymus neiceffii aff 'Juniper Leaf Thyme' Is adorable, it looks like a miniature creeping juniper and is only 1" tall.
Thymus serpyllum 'Elfin' - Is an extremely compact creeping thyme that is about 3" tall. It is so cute.
Thymus serphyllum 'Minor' - Is probably the lowest growing thyme I don't think it is even a 1/2" tall.

Also, consider the sedums mentioned above. The ones I grow that are very nice and never need watering are:

Sedums
Sedum spurium 'Dragon's Blood' - It is one of the most popular ones due to the burgundy red foliage.
Sedum reflexum and Sedum 'Blue Carpet' - These both are a really pretty shade of blue. S.reflexum looks similar to needles on a spruce tree and Blue Carpet has little rosette looking foliage.
Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' - This is a really neat chartreuse colored sedum.

There are so many more available. All which would be wonderful ground cover around your conifers. None of them would be too aggressive so there would be no worries about them smothering out your conifers. Also, they are very easy to rip out and get rid of if you get sick of the look.

Good luck...

he he...sorry for playing with the font size and bold.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 12:41AM
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rispetto(6a)

Evergreen groundcovers? Isn't look better than thymes?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 3:36AM
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ricksample(6)

LadyLotus - Thanks... I will add those to my list just in case I can find some cheap. The ones my supplier is offering for $1.77 each are:

Thymus praecox Purple Dwarf
Thymus praecox Doretta Klaber
Thymus praecox Pink Chintz
Thymus praecox Halls Woolly
Thymus praecox quinquecostatus ibukiensis
Thymus praecox Minus
Thymus praecox Reiters Red
Thymus praecox Albus
Thymus praecox Grey Woolly

Of course I would have to purchase all of them in a 9 pack. Then again I'm not sure how much this goes for at a big box store. Are any of these any good?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 5:22AM
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ricksample(6)

Rispetto - Those do look great, especially the second pic. Do you know what this is? I really like how the ground cover surrounds that weird looking chamaecyparis. It looks like it's growing up out of the ground cover.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 5:27AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

rick,

"Do you know what this is? I really like how the ground cover surrounds that weird looking chamaecyparis. It looks like it's growing up out of the ground cover."

That appears to be a staked juniper. Could be part of the existing prostrate juniper with a branch or two staked for height.

I'll post a few islands with ground covers.

Here's one. I'll get some names when I gather more up and some more advice regarding companion plants.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 7:06AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

sounds like you got stump grindings.. i NEVER take that ... i think my luck with mulch is twofold.. first as a stay at home.. i am here 24/7 ... if i hear the chainsaw.. i go look for it... at the end of the day.. they always want to get rid of it.. but you can barely pay them to drive 100 feet out of their way .... that plus ... the configuration of the 5 acres allows ease in ingress and digress relating to a very large chipper truck ..

most ground cover conifers are rootable ... do consider investing in some ... for the long run ...

both mother load and pancake and golden carpet.. all rooted along branches laying on soil ... so you can start moving those around as time goes by..

lol re daves pic that i think you posted... i see 3 sedum in there ... 2 at 4 o'clock.. another at 8 ....

you set yourself in a box about buying .. i just wanted you to look outside of it ...

ken

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 7:40AM
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ricksample(6)

Thanks Dave... it's much appriciated! Breathtaking photo... that's exactly the look I'm headed for. Right now I think I have about 3-4 beds I can work with in the spring to start adding ground covers/companion plants. If I can add a few things each year to each bed, it should fill in real nicely!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 8:05AM
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ricksample(6)

They definitely were stump grindings, I didn't know ahead of time and I never thought to ask.

I actually have some ground covering conifers:
(1) Juniperus horizontalis Mother Lode,
(2) picea pungens procumbens
(1) pinus sylvestris albyn
(1) pinus sylvestris hillside creeper
(1) Juniperus horizontalis 'Gold Strike'
(1) Cedrus deodara "Feeling Blue"
(1) Tsuga canadensis 'Coles Prostrate'
(1) Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula

Those are all I can think of now, I'm sure I missed a few. Most of the stuff in my collection will be conifers... but it wouldn't hurt to add the cheap stuff to make everything fill in and reduce the amount of mulch needed in the future. The initial mulch I can deal with, but I don't want to have to order 60 yards of mulch every 3 years when that can be going towards conifer purchases. If I need to take some of these evergreen groundcovers out in the future, no problem since they are just pennies a piece (since I plan to divided them). I'm not only doing it to reduce the amount of mulch needed, but also because I really like the overall look of it.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 8:10AM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Rick, you are welcome. If only I knew as much about conifers as I do about perennials. LOL

All the thyme you list except Thymus praecox quinquecostatus ibukiensis (I know nothing about this one) are BEAUTIFUL. If you do not know anyone that has thyme or sedum, I would buy one of each. They multiply really fast and you will be able to just cut off some pieces and place them around your gardens. I don't think the price for the thyme is bad at all. Go for it.

They will reduce the need for mulching AND even help keep down the weeds.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 10:49AM
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harv2016

Respetto, great pictures, just fills my head with ideas of using conifers as ground covers. I'll be snapping up all those blue rugs and gardens junipers I've been passing over. Great contast of colors on the first photo

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 7:33PM
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clement_2006


Cyclamen coum in flowers now.
Clement

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 4:07PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

send me an email.. so i can send you an email

and while you are at it.. go to your members page.. and allow me to send you an email ...

ken

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 4:30PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Juniperus conferta 'All Gold'

A pure gold variety of Japanese Shore Juniper. Plant prostrate with bright yellow foliage. When established in soil will not burn even in 105 degree heat. Very good in sun.

Rick, I have to many ground covers to list and a lot of them are not in PhotoBucket. Come this spring I will post all in bloom. You pick and I will send you what you want. I thin tons of this stuff every year. Yours for the taking.

If wanted I will post several deciduous ground covers and grasses that are very desirable.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 5:00PM
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wisconsitom

What hardiness zone are you in, Clement? I've always loved the cyclamen but have never considered them hardy enough for my zone 4/5 region.

+oM

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 5:32PM
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ricksample(6)

Wow Thanks Dave! That will really help... I'm not to picky so I'll take anything you decide to thin and can fit into a box. I'm sure anything you have I will like. The only thing I have right now are conifers and about 8 hostas. Just let me know when time comes to ship and what I owe you for shipping.

Ken - I have fixed my members page to include my e-mail

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 8:04PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Rispetto's groundcover looks like Juniperus procumbens, 'Nana'. It's also the "weird looking" Chamaecyparis. It appears to be all one plant.
Mike

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:32PM
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clement_2006

I'm in zone 6/7.
Clement

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 2:26AM
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sluice

Here are a few pics from today.

Sedum spurium 'Red Carpet'

Sedum spurium 'Red Carpet'

Achillea ageratifolia (Greek Yarrow)

Veronica pectinata (Blue Woolly Speedwell)

Veronica pectinata (Blue Woolly Speedwell)

Berberis aquifolium (Mahonia repens, Creeping barberry)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 2:17PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Nate,
It's amazing you have some life in your ground covers at this time of year. I've never grown creeping barberry as it's just not quite hardy enough for me, it looks like a neat plant.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 7:48PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I see no reason not to use stump grindings. Here's a load of 16 cu yds. delivered to me for free. I am a happy camper! It will take a while to use it all up, especially now that I'm dealing with ice storm damage. I really like the dark color. So far, no weeds have popped up and I have had it since last summer. If I do get a few weeds I can always top dress it with clean chips. The tree guy parks his truck and chipper here between jobs. His homeowners association won't allow him to park his truck and chipper in his driveway or in front of his house.
Mike


Mike

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:27AM
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ricksample(6)

Mike that doesn't look to bad, it all depends on the person and job I guess. My parents said when they had there large tree cut down many years ago the grindings weren't to bad and they used it as mulch.

The stuff this guy brought me didn't look a lot like what you have. If I had to put it in a percentage I would say 80% dirt, 20% tree grindings. If I would have spread it out, it would be full of weeds in a mater of weeks. I bet the guy I used went deeper or wider than needed to get so much dirt.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 11:42AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Rick, with that much dirt I would have used it as fill also.
Weeds are my main concern. Not so much weeds from seeds, but weeds from under ground rhizomes like Horsetail, Quackgrass, and Morning Glory.
Mike

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 1:24PM
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