Hating 'ground cover'!!!

party_music50April 24, 2012

Am I the only one who is beginning to HATE all plants in the "ground cover" category?! I'm so sick of trying to keep these thugs from swallowing everything else in the gardens! They're looking and behaving no differently than weeds. 'Creeping Charlie' weed was bad enough, but now I'm also being over-taken by creeping jenny, lamiums, ajugas, creeping sedums, and lily of the valley.

I'm expending so much time and effort on the creepers that I can't get to the TALL thugs like phlox. LOL!

Is there anyone near me that wants some ground cover?! :O)

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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I curse the day I planted Japanese Ardisia.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:09AM
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Creeping Charlie was the bain of my garden for years and years - and between the paver stones of the courtyard for just as long. All I could do was pull it and spray it over and over. Never discarding it anywhere on the property except into trash bags. I'm sorry if the landfill got over run with Creeping Charlie but at least it's organic. Finally it disappeared but for little bunches in the driveway gravel or the one under the privet hedge that I just found this Spring! Incredible.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:32AM
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I still like sweet woodruff. I planted it in two smaller beds, with bee balm and columbine...and they all seem to fight it out together. Thank goodness we mow around them...or they probably would try to take over :)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:37AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

In general, I agree that far too many are pests! What kind of lamium do you have? I have 'Beacon Silver' and some 'White Nancy'. Beacon Silver' is more vigorous and does have a tendency to revert to a less silver form in places. But it's easy to rip out, makes a great foil for shrubs, and other plants grow up through it pretty easily. I also use Sweet Woodruff in the dark, dry area under the white pines. In warmer areas (e.g. the PNW) it is considered invasive but that's not an issue here. Lily of the Valley is a PITA! I have a bit of it at the back corner of the garage; we mostly control it by mowing the grass short in the area, which cuts down the bits that try to creep out. Wild ginger makes a good groundcover in dry shade. So, some groundcovers work well if you match them to the right conditions and consider their vigor and density before you decide they are worth planting.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:41AM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

I am having a serious problem with pink evening primrose! Lord has that stuff taken over! And if it's not blooming it's bad looking. My lamium isn't doing well enough to choke out things. I'd give anything for my phlox to be a thug! I love phlox.
Last year my snow in summer was my thug. I ripped it out after it bloomed and it came back. I like it but it had swallowed up my stepping stones.
I think it's always the things you underestimate that grow like madmen!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:59AM
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"creeping jenny, lamiums, ajugas, creeping sedums, and lily of the valley,s now in summer. "

Oh dear. all of these are invasives. For groundcovers I've used a mix of thymes,thrifts, arenarias, saponaria --- these are not hard to contain.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:55PM
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beachgrub(4 northern michigan)

I've been losing the battle with wild violets the last few years so was actually considering letting them go this year to see how it looked. Has anyone ever left this in their beds to fill in between flowers? Will it choke out my other flowers?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 3:21PM
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I have removed probably 50% of the english ivy at my house. It was climbing up to the roof when I bought it. Now there is some around a beautybush out front and fills in gaps without grass and creeps around the foundation of the house. I pulled so much of it out to build a garden on the side of the house. However I haven't touched it in the back yard and it is everywhere! I don't really care about what it does back there though.

There is a large amount of invasive lilies of the valley on the other side of the house. Anywhere there isn't grass they will pop up. Pull out some grass? They will pop up there. However they have filled in all around my daffodils and they don't look so bad.

And I planted a lot of bee balm last year and it has come back with a vengeance. I don't mind however as I love the look and the smell. Planning on making it into tea this year.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Chris_in_the_Valley(z7 MD)

I do love lily of the valley, hence my screen name, but I've seen it eat up asphalt. Pulled 60+ bags of english ivy out of my first back yard and barely put a dent in it. Love creeping myrtle, aka vinca minor, because irises and such can grow up through it, but then so can weeds. Sweet woodruff has stayed fairly well contained in wet heavily shaded areas for me.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:18PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

So many of these plants are exotics to us in hot weather areas. I can grow creeping charlie, jenny, lamium, ajuga- and none are any problem at all. Some are tough to keep alive here. Lily of the Valley? Adore it- although I have only seen it in florist shops in little pots. I cannot imagine these plants being thugs. Now mint...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:02AM
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beachgrub, I have let clumps of violets grow in my borders and yes I think they are lovely and yes they will try to take over. They spread fast and come up between Iris, daylilies, you name it. I pull violets where I don't want them, but they will always come back as long as there is one clump left. You just have to be diligent and if you can live with keeping them restrained they looked beautiful in especially semi shady borders.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 12:28PM
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beachgrub(4 northern michigan)

Thanks schoolhouse, they are in a dappled shade garden and may just be what it needs. It's a purple/pink/white themed garden so will blend well. Kinda have to laugh at myself, here i am yanking it out and all the while contemplating a good groundcover to fill in the gaps! Bah ha ha ha! Duh.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 3:34PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

LOL, the older I get the more I love ground covers. Ones which I used to think were a thorn in my side are fast becoming a BFF.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 4:40PM
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I dug, yanked & ripped as much lily-of-the-valley as possible right after I moved here. My mother loved it and it was growing all four sides of the house. One particularly dense mat of it was on the southeast corner of the house. A neighbor with a backhoe was doing some landscaping for me and I asked if he could set the hoe on the far edge of the LOTV, dig down 4 inches, tip the hoe horizontal and lift out the whole mess. He said, "Sure" and proceeded to do just that. Then he asked me if I wanted to plant it somewhere else and I told him he could dump it as far down in the back corner of the property as the machine would go. I planted my Harry Lauter walkingstick tree on that corner and mulched over thick, corrugated cardboard. The LOTV still pops up here and there but the majority of it is long gone.

Where my shade bed is on the north side of the garage, I actually dug down 14 inches, pulled up LOTV roots as big around as my thumb cut and them into pieces with lopping shears.

I'm learning to love ajuga since it's all through my lawn and isn't going away anytime soon. Ditto the @#$%^ violets. The ones that bug me get painted with vinegar but I'd need a tanker truck of it to kill them all.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 6:09PM
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beachgrub(4 northern michigan)

I had LOTV on all 4 sides of my house when we bought it also but thank goodness we only had to dig it out once and haven't seen it since. I've planted english ivy TWICE and can't get it to grow! Sheesh. Must be all the sand i've got. I guess i'll just stick with the violets, they seem to thrive.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:42PM
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I am sending a high five to Renee-Mint-I have it everywhere-but I do love to rip it up. So satisfying.

I planted wandering jew - also known as inch plant. As I was planting it-my DH said- you are going to be sorry for planting that...

and I am! It grows up and over the top of plants so they all look like green humps.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:44PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Someone at a plant swap gave me lily of the valley and I thought, how bad could it be? Still, I planted it between the house and a cement walkway. That was a great idea, but it didn't grow larger for 2 years, then oops! Wow, it came in with a vengeance that third year and I ripped it all out and haven't seen it since.

I have Lamium and I planted it in a 3ft strip between the house and the garage and four years later, it is still in the same footprint and has not gone anywhere I didn't want it. I added 'Orchid Frost' Lamium and that one is very attractive.

I've had Vinca for over 20 years. It works fine under a large Maple, but I cut off a little section and planted it in open ground in part sun and holy cow....it took off and two years later, I ripped out about a 10ft area from 3 little sections.

I tried Sweet Woodruff once, but once I saw how fast that spread, I dug it out. Have never had ivy, or creeping charlie. I grew mint in a pot and just stuck the pot in my vegetable bed for the winter and it escaped and now I suppose I'll never get rid of it. I've pulled it all out, but I am waiting for it to show up again.

I love thymes, veronicas, phlox subulata and a native Arctostaphylos uva-ursi that I'm enjoying. In shade, I love epimediums, ferns, hosta. Low growing geraniums are pretty easy and don't travel too much. I especially like epimedium along the fence line, because the root ball is so thick that it keeps things from coming under the fence.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 6:57PM
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LOTV! I can't get rid of it. It's in the South-East corner of my house which happens to be the front of my house and its invading a formal bed that just looks awful with this weed popping up all over. I thought I had gotten it all so I planted new shrubs/roses/clematis/etc but now I can't get to the roots of the LOTV without digging at least a foot down and disturbing everything else. I now understand what invasive is!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:32AM
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