Monday, October 28, 2013

Groundcover Lessons, Groundcover Hopes

Tiarella cordifolia, Foamflower bites the dust

Throughout this summer and early autumn, I've written about groundcovers I've trialed. Some I've really liked (Sweet Woodruff, Creeping Raspberry), some were a bit too successful (Blue Star Creeper) and the jury's still out on some others (Betony, Ajuga).

But in the Full Disclosure spirit of this blog, I feel like I should also admit to some of my unqualified groundcover failures. So without further ado...

Groundcovers that have not worked at all:

1. Lamium maculatum, Spotted Deadnettle - Killed this in a hot minute in 2012.

2. Tiarella cordifolia, Foamflower - Planted three in the spring, killed two of them (including the one pictured above) while the one survivor has limped along looking less than stellar. I'm guessing they'd prefer a cooler climate or at least more shade. I did not notice any pollinators when the ethereal flower spikes were in bloom.

3. Epimedium x perralchicum "Frohnleiten" - Purchased in the spring, installed with morning shade but afternoon sun, the plant has sulked and the leaves have crisped. I'll probably transplant it this winter to a shadier spot to see if it can recover and thrive. Clemson says it can tolerate drought but needs lots of shade. My failure so far with Epimedium is probably mostly a matter of me putting the plant in the wrong place. Mea culpa. UPDATE 1/15/2016 - For gardeners, patience pays. I'm trying to become better at waiting at least a couple of years to pass judgment on plants. In the case of 'Frohnleiten', I never did transplant it, but as it settled in (and as some of the shrubs around it grew up to provide more shade), it has flourished and become one of the BEST groundcovers in my garden so far!)

Now of course I could continue to cover ground using the plants that have worked best so far. And in fact I plan to do just that. But there are also some other groundcovers I would like to try:

Mitchella repens, Partridge Berry, photo by Joshua Mayer

Mitchella repens, Twinberry, Partridge Berry, Running Box (UPDATE 1/15/2016 - I have been growing this plant for about 15 months now. It took a little while to settle in, but now seems to doing quite well. I have high hopes for partridge berry in 2016!) 


Saxifraga "London Pride" photo by Janet 59

Saxifraga stolonifera x. urbium "London Pride"