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Ground cover for rockery and steps

Posted by appletnc z5 Seattle, WA (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 30, 05 at 12:36

I am a new gardener and new to the forums. Earlier this year I built a dry stack rockery wall with steps up the center between two levels of my yard. I'd like to find a ground cover to grow in the cracks between the steps. The joints are fairly tight in some spots (1/2 inch) and wider (1 inch) in other places. The steps receive medium to heavy foot traffic and in the summer get full sun (this is Seattle, so not a lot of winter sun, but lots of rain and wet). The cracks are currently filled with gravel that drains well. I was considering Blue Star Creeper, but wanted to see if others on the forum had different suggestions. I'd also like to get some advice on prep, will most ground covers do ok in the gravel or do I need to add some compost or dirt?

I am also looking for some plants to put in the cracks on of the wall itself. I have a flat of Woolly Thyme that I'm considering putting in the cracks or at the top of the wall to drape over the front of the wall. I'd love some suggestions from others on plats for the wall.

This isn't a great picture, but this should give you some idea of what I am dealing with.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of wall with steps

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ground cover for rockery and steps

Very nice wall. I'd consider planting the woolly thyme between the paver steps since you have it available, but any other low, creeping, full sun groundcover will work - any of the creeping thymes, blue star creeper (can get dieback in winter, so not exactly fully evergreen), leptinella or even Scotch or Irish moss. Both the leptinella and mosses will provide a dense and very cushiony surface on the pavers - great for bare feet :-)

For the top of the wall, I'd consider something a little showier. Sunrose (Helianthemum cultivars) are evergreen, drape nicely and provide a long season of color, Lithodora if you like the intense blue (will also experience some winter dieback), heaths or heathers, dwarf hebes, even prostrate rosemary, although that looks best with a taller wall. Early spring in area nurseries will provide a wide array of blooming "rockery" plants from which to choose, but nearly all are very early season bloomers, so lack color later on. Sedums (stonecrops) and sempervivums (hens and chicks) are great to poke into niches along the face of the wall. Neither they or the groundcovers require any more soil to take hold than what's attached to the roots in their little pots.

RE: Ground cover for rockery and steps

There are a lot of really nice mosses that grow very nicely between small spaces and stay green year round. You can hardly go wrong with just about any groundcover, but in your area, I wouldn't get anything that has to have too much sun. Good luck and enjoy.

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