Covering the ground

Groundcovers help fill in the garden and give it another layer of dimension.  The foliage can be delicate or large and colorful.  These are some of my favorite groundcovers that I have in my garden at the moment.  Sweet Woodruff grows rampantly throughout my woodland garden amongst the shade loving perennials like Hostas and Ferns.  The tiny white flowers look like a soft blanket of snow when blooming in masses.  And the delicate foliage is evergreen which gives it year round interest.  Bugleweed has purplish blue spikes in the spring and shiny green foliage the remainder of the time.  It prefers part shade to full shade conditions and can be slightly invasive.  However it is easy to remove since its’ roots are rather shallow.  Creeping Phlox can take full sun and comes in a variety of colors from shades of red to purple.  Mine is a pale lavender.  It works great on a slope for keeping the soil from eroding.  My two new additions this year are the Elfin Thyme and the Eurphorbia ‘Chameleon.  The Thyme has dainty little blue blossoms from mid summer to early fall.  Even the foliage on this one is dainty and would be a great addition to a fairy garden where miniature plants are the choice.  The colorful foliage of Chameleon at this time of the year extends the season of interest.  I know Frances over at the Fairegarden did a post which you can read here. Three of these were planted in the garden this fall.  The flowers are suppose to be tiny little yellow things at the tips of the bracts that only last for a couple of weeks in the spring or early summer.  But the real show is the foliage which continues to be interesting long after the blooms are gone.  It is actually more of a mounding perennial but only gets 1-2′ tall so it will be at the front of the border.  Now I’ve had perennial Candytuff or Iberis sempervirens in my garden for years.  It is evergreen and the snowflake shaped flowers are a real treat in the spring when they bloom.  They are some of the first blooms in my garden along with the miniature daffodils and spanish bluebells.  Groundcovers not only cover the ground but add another interesting layer to the garden year round.  What are some your favorite groundcovers?


13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by greenwalks on November 28, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Cute! I haven’t been too into groundcovers but just got a few in a recent trip to the nursery…. hm, can I remember what they are? Nope! But I definitely need to start filling in the blank spaces and hope to also discourage weeds. I do always like to see the bright white of candytuft, it seems to grow nicely in rockeries too – I need to get some!

    Thanks Karen. I think you will be glad you are adding these vertically challenged perennials to your garden come next spring. Another benefit that I forgot to mention but you brought up was discouraging weeds. They do block some of the exposed soil that would be come a weed haven. I love Candytuff it is low maintenance & very reliable year after year. I hope you get some!


  2. Racquel, this is mean!
    To have such a nice post about ground cover with such pretty plants pictured as possible options, and all the while to know there is no way I can ever have ground cover in my garden… mean!:(

    Sorry Sunita, didn’t intend to be mean when I did this post. Every area is different in what they can grow. I know you avoid groundcovers because of snakes hiding in them. You can always grow these in a container too as another option.


  3. Thanks for this great post about ground covers, I’m always on the lookout for something for that front slope! Wooly woodruff is one of my favourites! A friend of mine who I gave a shovel-full to claims that it even chased some goutweed back into place! I have some goutweed along the back fence and next spring will place a small division there to test it for myself. It is just a lovely plant!

    You are quite welcome Mary Ann. 🙂 Groundcovers are great for slopes because they act as a great barrier to erosion and they are better than grass which needs to be mowed. Anything that chases weeds is a keeper in my books. Good luck with your backfence area next year.


  4. They all look good. I like the Candytuft best. Evergreen, easy to grow and propagate, and blooms in a big way too! Have a great day!

    Thanks Tina. I am partial to the Candytuft too, it has really performed well in my garden for years. 🙂 Have a great day yourself!


  5. I simply love to go through the list of plants in your garden. The Chameleon looks interesting with coloured foliage.

    Thanks Kanak! 🙂 I like the colorful foliage of Chameleon too, it is very pretty.


  6. Great post and always educational, thank you. I have some Wondering Jew, Sweet Potato Vine (which will not tolerate any cold at all don’t know if it will come back) and of course I have Diantuhus that will cover, but slowly. I have Candytuft in mounds, is it a groundcover?

    Thanks Darla, glad you found the post today educational! 🙂 Wandering Jew is a great spreader and I don’t know if the Sweet Potato vine will come back or not. You never know though. It is a mounding perennial but spreads nicely so I consider it a groundcover. Some get a little taller than others.


  7. I’m a believer! When you’ve got a “new” garden (3 years old), groundcovers are a blessing…they fill in quickly while waiting for the garden to mature. Creeping phlox is fantastic, staying evergreen here. I use it instead of candytuft because of, you know, my deer friends. I planted an ajuga that is yellow/cream variegated. The name escapes me after so much turkey, but I’ll find my notes. -Cameron

    They are a great way give your garden some maturity while waiting for some of the slower growing perennials to reach their mature size. I didn’t realize that Candytuff was deer food, thanks. 😉 Creeping Phlox is evergreen here too, all of these seem to be in my garden. Your variegated Ajuga sounds pretty! I love variegated foliage, let me know the name when you find your notes.


  8. I like the candytuft. I would like it better if it bloomed a little longer. I’ve not grown sweet woodruff but I like the look of it. I didn’t know it was evergreen. That is definitely a plus. I brought home this year a couple of little pieces of the phlox. Not sure what color they are and I don’t know if they will make it. They looked pretty rough.

    Mine blooms for quite a while in the spring Susie. If you deadhead it when the first flush is gone you will get some sporatic blooms after that. It should be evergreen in your garden too. My creeping phlox looked kind of iffy last fall too, but they bounced back in the spring & look better now.


  9. The bugleweed and phlox are big favourites of mine too. My creeping phlox is also a light lavender and blooms right in front of my peach irises at the same time – a very pretty (and accidental!) combination.

    We have similar taste Amy in plants! I bet that is a great color combo (lavender phlox w/peach irises)! Sometimes the best combinations are accidental, don’t you think? 🙂


  10. My little star creeper is still blooming! It just HAS to be my favorite!

    Your star creeper has pretty little blooms Linda. I don’t blame you for faving it! 😉


  11. Nice post topic Racquel! I love the sweet woodruff too! I also have a mat forming thyme & regular purple vinca as ground covers in my front bed and the golden form of creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) in the back shade bed. I had snow on the mountain forever until I finally eradicated it.

    Thank you Kathleen. I’m glad you like today’s post. 🙂 I’ve never grown the creeping Thymes before & I really like them now. Sounds like you have a great variety of groundcovers in your garden too!


  12. I love those ground covers. I have creeping phlox and thyme too. I’d like to grow more, but I’ll have to wait until I can afford to buy more. Still plenty of room for them though.

    I try to divide the existing ones up to spread them around a bit and that saves some $. Bugleweed, Phlox & Candytuff spread quickly and are quite easy to multiply.


  13. Excellent post. It is hard to settle on a good ground cover that is for sure. You brought up the good and difficult side of having them. Very informative.

    Thanks Anna. I’m glad you found it informative. 🙂


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