Hi, I live in the mid atlantic region about thirty miles north of
Washington, DC in a townhouse with a fenced front yard measuring about
sixteen feet across and and eighteen feet deep with southern exposure. In
the center of the yard is a cherry tree (doesn't bear fruit) with trunk
about 18" - 22" in diameter. When I moved in a couple of years ago, the
yard was mostly covered in ground cover plants. Not knowing anything about
plants I pulled some of the different plants thinking they were weeds. I
want to replant the yard with gound cover plants, but I don't have a clue
which ones to buy. I don't what to plant grass due to the shade the tree
produces and I believe grass lawns are wasteful, what with thw watering and
chemicals needed too maintain them. Any and all suggestions are welcome,
I would make a trip to a local full-service nursery to see what is
available. They should know what will grow well in your area. Some general
recommendations would be English ivy, pachysandra, ajuga, vinca,
wintergreen, cinquefoil, groundcover roses, Euonymus fortunei - purple
winter creeper, liriope, and sedum. You might consider planting more than
one type of groundcover in a pattern. The pattern can be geometric and
formal, or informal drifts. Part of the design could be mulch. Don't
overlook the possibility of using closely planted drifts of perennials such
a hellebores or hostas.
Like what's-her-name said, I'd get some local advice, but lean toward
pachysandra. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of a handful of plants which
should be nominate for sainthood. Bulletproof, easy to grow. Expensive at
first, but oh well.
When you first plant them, you'll want to keep the ground moist for a couple
of weeks. But, once they're mature, they need pretty much nothing. Next
statement refers ONLY to my direct experience growing them in NY State,
zones 5 and 6: I've seen them perfectly happy in full sun, part sun, and
deep shade, regardless of moisture. At my last house, they thrived in winter
temps ranging from 30 down to zero, especially in a particular corner where
we had ice damming, which resulted in the plants being bombarded regularly
by 20 lb chunks of ice.
Very odd plants, but endlessly rich-green. The only thing I don't know is
how they deal with salt, since I never used any, and I've never had occasion
to notice any plantings near roads.
OK, but I lied just a little. They like a little compost now and then. And,
in theory, they're happiest in the same situations where rhododendrons
smile. So, if the soil is total crap, you might want to amend it a bit
before planting. That usually does NOT mean buying bags of so-called
"topsoil". Maybe add some peat moss if your soil is really dry and lifeless,
and add composted cow manure, or your own homemade compost, if you've got a
pile or bin started. None of this is absolutely necessary, but it helps.
"Flats" of pachysandra seem pretty expensive, but the plants spread very
If you add peat moss, don't just take it out of the bag and spread it
around. It's often dry, and will actually suck moisture away from plants. If
you have a wheelbarrow, crumble the peat moss into it and sprinkle with
water. The next day, it should have soaked up the water and expanded. Less
dusty that way, too. If no wheelbarrow, lay the bag flat, slice open the
top, take some out to make a "bowl" that'll hold water, and pour in a gallon
or two. Work your way through the bag that way. The stuff's like a dry
sponge. Toss the sponge in water, and it'll float until it soaks up some
"Easy" is an understatement. I got mine from a friend who simply ripped
pieces out of her garden (and I do mean RIPPED - the stems were jagged).
When she arrived with the gift, she tied each stem in a loose overhand knot
and said "They root better if you do that". Stuck them in the ground, and
two weeks later, they were rooted. I didn't question the knot idea because
this was a woman you could not debate anything with unless you had 4 hours
and plenty of pretzels and beer, which I did not at the moment.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Yarrow and Cosmos for sale at the
nursery this year. They were priced at $3.99 per plant. Yikes! I'd
almost pay someone to dig up and take away some of mine.
My pachysandra came from a woodsy part of a friends property. It was in
a place where they tossed there weeds, and it had taken root and was
almost taking over. It was so dark in there during the day you could
have used a flashlight. This was a few years ago, but I bet if I went
back there would be plenty more by now.
People pay for the convenience, or they don't know any better. ; )
In a yard where I was working one day, the homeowner brought me a flat
of ajuga to plant for her. I told her she could return it and I would
bring her all she wanted from my own yard. She just shrugged her
shoulders, and said it didn't cost much. ($25.00 I looked)
BTW, it's not there anymore. heh heh
A thanks you note to the responders of my post.
I pulled a lot of weeds, spread peat mulch and water daily. Well, the
is thriving. A buddy also advised me the cherry tree is using the bulk of
Any suggestions for another plant to use to breakup the pachysandra?
AKA May Wine
Large chilled wet glass bowl coated with Sugar
10 % white wine two bottles or more
3 cups of sugared strawberries from day before
1/2 cup Woodruff flowers floating about
PS 1 plug of woodruff 30 years ago yielded 40 by 160 feet woodruff
patch. Makes easy gifts.
Garden Shade Zone 5 S Jersey USA in a Japanese Jungle Manner.39.6376 -75.0208
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