ground cover mix under/btween river birches

plaidthumbApril 21, 2005

Two river birch trees about 15 feet apart in front (S. side) of house. The lower branches have been trimmed off because I won't have a tree I can't walk/mow/drive under. It's trimmed high enough that the southern edge of the bed is sunny, the middle is dappled throughout the day, and the northern edge is pretty much full shade.

I have a variety of perinniels between the trees; day lillies, dasies, hostas, Lillies of the Valley, astilbie (am I the only one who finds that to be a rather ugly plant?), daffodils, phlox, purple palace (moved it three times in 4 years b4 I found a place that it liked),and some purple heart (supposedly and annual--it's on its 4th year of returning...). I also have some ivy growing up the trees, but I keep it trimmed back on the ground--bad memories of snakes in a bed of ivy when I was a kid.

I planted some ajuga that did awesome the first two years, then it never returned. I'm a bit shy about trying it again.

I seem to have some kind of ground cover growing with little spikes of purple flowers. I have no idea what it is, and only vague memories of having planted it there. I think it was two years ago and I gave up on it. I'll keep it fertilized and watered--maybe it'll make a go of it.

Does any one have any ideas for different ground covers I could try? Evergreens are great, because it's just blah during the winter otherwise--not enough snow to hide the bareness. I'm not a big fan of those little evergreen-tree-like plants that spread out along the ground. I'm drawing a blank as to what they're called.

Thanks for any ideas you can supply.

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franeli(z4 NH)

Bearberries are great for hot, dry , sunny areas and are evergreen.
I think in your hot climate, they will take some shade.
There are all kinds of creeping Veronicas, some turn purple foliage fall to spring.
Junipers for year round intrest? There are all kinds and color tones of this shrub.
Pine shrubs? Like Mugo and Blue Shag...sun + dry lovers
Shade shrubs would be yews.
Potentilla shrubs come in many colors and can be added for summer blooms.
I have alot of creeping thymes+sedums in sun.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 8:04AM
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creatrix(z7 VA)

The purple spike flowers could be Bugleweed- a weed ajuga with green leaves.

Arum italicum has leaves during the winter and goes dormant during the summer. It is an interesting companion to hostas. It puts up a bloom in the summer that matures into red berries.

For the part sun, look into geraniums- Crane's bill. Some of them are evergreen- except the leaves turn red in autumn.

Carex morrowii- Japanese sedge is an evergreen, grass-like plant for shade. There are other Carex as well, but not all are evergreen.

I'm not very surprised by your purpleheart- mine has been around for 3 years. I am impressed by the z6!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 8:11PM
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By calling Bugleweed a weed, it needs to be removed? Is it invasive? It's doing what I want done, and it doesn't look nasty. If it is going to take over, I'll pull it.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 12:01AM
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