Ground Cover

Ground cover can come in useful where you have an awkward embankment where mowing would be difficult, strimming time consuming or where you weren’t planning any shrubs. The incline might make it a balancing act to weed and keep in check. Carpet covering and mat forming ground cover can provide foliage interest and little maintenance since it’s fit for purpose.

Cotoneaster horizontalis is the most commonest used since the species is very robust and hard wearing needing little or no maintenance and provides for berries for birds and wildlife.

Juniperus squamata a prickly one but for good reason. Very low growing and good as a deterrent for those leaving their waste behind. A low growing but with an arched habit. Blue carpet provides a good alternative to weeding leaving a colourful silver – blue hardwearing cover. It is very hardy and gives effective colour all year round. It tolerates full and partial sun, good in free draining soil when it is established and drought tolerant.

Isomata fluviatilis (Blue star creeper) it is a perennial but with good results (perennial meaning it dies back). However, it provides a mass of flowers from late spring into autumn. It is part of the campanula family – it needs warmth and full sun. It is tolerant of exposed sites but does not sit well in wet conditions. A favourite in moist but not saturated. Also very effective in cracks providing an abundance of colour and hiding a “multitude of sins”.

Phlox subulata (Creeping phlox) is a perennial that is very easy to grow. The spring flowers come in an array of colours Reds, Pinks, Whites and Purples. Cutting back the top will encourage new growth and prevent the plant from becoming leggy. The perennials are shallow rooted so the stem should not go deep under the surface just at the soil level will be fine. The foliage will provide all year round interest and the flower from spring to summer.

Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese Spurge) An evergreen that foliage will sits well all the year and provides star shaped flowers in summer. Versatile due to its liking to cold and warm areas. It is equally good in exposed and sheltered locations. ‘Green Carpet’ has particularly interesting leaves.

Stachys byzantina (Lambs Ears) this covering evergreen provides a superb cover in a gap or possibly an area too small for a shrub and too big for a bedding plant. It is commonly known as Lambs ears from its velvety and beautiful silvery exterior. It flowers in summer, every season other than winter you can enjoy the foliage. It needs a full sun position but exposure to the winds and other elements it is tolerant.

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I'm Craft Gardener with several years experience. Due to the massive impact the internet has had on advice, forums and consultancy services - it seems knowledge and experience is everchanging and we should therefore share techniques and offer others alternative routes in pests, diseases and weed treatments. The very smallest alterations in aspect, soil conditioning and pruning can determine a plants vigour, health and lifespan hugely. My blogs and online assistance should motivate and interest even the most amateur of green fingered people. As my ex partner used to say "it's green isn't it"?