What Would You Recommend?

landofoz_07(5 or 6)February 14, 2007

Hi! I'm new to flower gardening and am trying my hand out on a shade garden. I have a very old apricot tree, growing next to a line of 4 spindly elms (all on border between my property and neighbors) and a 10-15 foot pine tree about 15 feet away from the base of the apricot trunk. This isn't a very shady area, believe it or not, and it get lots of indirect light, reflected from our white house. The soil is extremely sandy and compacted. Grass doesn't grow there, weeds don't grow, nothing grows. One reason why, might be that some Idiot buried a ton (figurtively speaking) of bricks, mortar, and smallish rock slabs about 12 inches deep in this area. It is almost impossible to dig because of this.

I'm looking for a really tough, hard to kill and fairly aggressive groundcover. I really like ajuga and lamium (sp?) but I don't know how quickly they'd get out of control. Any suggestions would be great.

Thanks,

Sarah

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tjsangel(z5 OH)

Hi,

It really depends on how much sun we're talking about. Does the soil get dry during the summer? If you have partial shade you can try lily of the valley-spreads real fast-vinca, with less flowering, or Epimedium, which needs moisture the first year, then adapts to dry shade. Sweet woodruff is a pretty, fast growing groundcover. Ajuga spreads fast, Lamium does not. Both attractive and hardy. Creeping Jenny would work if you have moisture too.

Jen

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 8:18PM
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landofoz_07(5 or 6)

The area is very dry because the hose doesn't reach that far (about 5 feet too short). I was actually thinking I'd like something very invasive, because my neighbors lawn is composed entirely of sand burrs and other painful stickers. And because there is a huge area that doesn't support grass over there. I could water it, though. I'd just have to make my hubby fix the spicket on that side of the house and the hose would reach...

I just checked out the epimedium, those look great. I really like them too. I just wonder about their height. They are a little on the tall side. Since this will be such a large area, maybe I should just try a few of each groundcover and see what does best? If nothing else, at least I'll have the "texture" differences that the garden-design book are always nagging about! Now I just need to find a place that sells the seeds of ajuga, epi, and sweet woodruff... any suggestions?

Thanks,
Sarah

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 11:57AM
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tjsangel(z5 OH)

Hi Sarah,

With the area being so dry it limits your choices. It would be best to water the area regularly if possible. You could grow a big variety of groundcovers. If not, your best bets would be lily of the valley and epimedium. There are different epis, and they dont grow that tall. I would check out bluestoneperennials.com Good luck!

Jen

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 7:46PM
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landofoz_07(5 or 6)

Thanks for the website, Jen. They have the sweet woodruff and my favorite coreopsis 'moonbeam'. And it's such a pretty, informative site too! I'm still hunting for epi's though. I wonder if they are something that my local nursery would carry?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 10:53PM
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tjsangel(z5 OH)

I have seen Epimedium at my local greenhouse. Do you have a greenhouse nearby? If not try googling for different nurseries. You could also try ebay in spring, I've bought plants there before and they look great. Good luck,

Jen

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 8:24AM
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