Help needed with Mini 'woodland' : Mulch, moss, or groundcover?
Does anyone have suggestions about the best way to mulch/cover the bare ground of a miniature "woodland" garden bed?
The garden bed in question is a small, shaded garden bed (about 6 feet long and 2 feet wide) that has consistently moist soil. It's planted with Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis).
There are some bare ground areas in the bed, so I just added some Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) and Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina).
This particular garden bed has never been formally mulched, and has only a small patch of native moss on the ground, which appears to be Hypnum moss. We normally just remove any weeds, which is getting time-consuming.
I kind of dislike the way garden beds look when they are mulched with commercially processed wood chip mulch, punctuated by plants and shrubs sprouting up in between the mulch mounds.
Here are the 5 alternative options we're considering:
1. Leaves: Importing some fallen leaves from our actual full-scale woods for mulch (no leaves actually fall on the bed naturally).
3. More moss: I was thinking of purchasing some more Hypnum moss with the hope that it will eventually cover the bare areas of ground, but am unsure if this will be good for the other plants such as the Bleeding heart and the Jacob's Ladder. Would a carpet of moss make it difficult for rainwater to reach the roots of the other plants?
4. Skipping the mulch and just planting some kind of low-growing perennial like Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) or Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata).
5. Waiting for the Foamflower and ferns to fill in the bare ground areas.
If anyone thinks one of these options might be better than the other, or has any other suggestions, I'd appreciate it very much.