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Ground Covers

Written by Gerard on February 28th, 2020.      1 comments

What can be grown as a ground cover?


When considering ground covers think about living plants for a change. Unlike bark and pebble mulches, living ground covers offer so much more. They add colour to your garden with attractive flowers to nurture bees and beneficial insects and, more often than not, have interesting foliage and form too.

Livingstone Daisy

If you’re looking to fill in the spaces between pavers, create a feature that cascades over a bank or rockery, colour up a shady patch or beautify an otherwise boring drift, there are many seed grown options to consider that are easy to achieve.

Choose Perennial Herbs like Roman Chamomile or Wild Thyme - both of which will flourish if trimmed back to 5 cm high post flowering.

Thyme Wild

A few flowering Perennials worth a try are Calandrinia Red Maid, Dichondra Silver Falls and Snow in Summer - these all handle hot, dry conditions with spreading or trailing plant habits. One that enjoys a cooler position but great for a carpet effect is Irish Moss. Equally suited for cascading over rocks and banks as they are to growing as ground covers.

Snow in Summer

Then come the Annual Flowers that suit sunny sites...
Alyssum Painters Palette, Layia Tidy Tips, Livingstone Daisy Sparkles Mix, all the Nemophila, Portulaca Sunnyside Mix, Stock Spring Sparkle and Verbena Desert Jewels.
Portulaca, Livingstone Daisies and Verbena are particularly bright and vibrant colours for an eye catching display.

Carpet of Colour

And for those shady spots? Don't forget the irrepressible Forget-Me-Nots or for the voluminous leafy look of trailing Nasturtiums.

Nasturtiums

In most cases, seed for these projects is incredibly small so unless you’re tackling a small area where exact placing of individual plants is called for, the best idea is to broadcast your seed as follows:
 
  • Choose a time of year when it's not too cold and more than likely going to rain - spring and autumn are generally ideal.
  • Blend your seed with a far larger quantity of seed raising mix perhaps a ratio of 100 parts SR mix to 1 part seed - this will give you a much larger volume to work with.
  • Sprinkle the seed on the surface of the prepared ground and let it find its own way into the cracks and crevices of the surface - a gentle watering will assist this.
  • The general rule of thumb is to never sow seed deeper than twice its diameter and most cases your seed is going to be tiny.
  • Keep evenly moist for the first fortnight or until signs of the first leaves are visible - at this point switch to an evening watering only if it hasn’t rained.
If you’ve sown it too densely, don’t be afraid to selectively thin it to avoid a spindly mass that's too crowded.

Dichondra
 
Be a little adventurous and have a go at growing something new or in a new way. 
Having only ever seen Dichondra Silver Falls growing as a cascading plant from a hanging basket,
we were stunned to see it looking amazing as a ground cover!
 

1 Comments

Karen says ...
Great post. I am laying "grass pavers" in combination with groundcover, and didn't want to have boring old grass!! Some great ideas here. Thank you!!

Oh dear!

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