Ground Cover Shrubs
Plants for problem positions
In spots where nothing seems to grow except, hoeing and may not be enough to keep the quick, unwanted growth at bay. You can achieve an easy-care display with shrubs that have a naturally low habit of growth.
Whether under trees, on steep, dry banks, or near the edges of paths, every garden has a tricky spot where weeds keep spreading fast and obstinately.
A simple and efficient solution to this problem is to plantshrubs. Once these are established, weeds can no longer obtain enough light to thrive. They keep the problem area weed free for years, and require little care.
Dense and fast growing
Plants are suitable as ground cover if they have a low or, even better, a creeping growth habit. Their foliage must also be dense enough — at least from spring until autumn — to stop weedfrom growing between their twigs. They should be attractive and vigorous, but not to the extent of being unduly invasive.
It is best to choose quick-growing deciduous or coniferous shrubs or plants which cover the ground completely within one or two years. Slow-growing species have to be planted close together to achieve the same effect, and this considerably increases the cost, and the work you have to do early on.
Plan in advance
Althoughare seldom given close attention, and they do not strike the eye with bright colours, their planting should be as well planned as for a rose-garden or specimen shrub. Investigating their requirements in advance saves a lot of time and money.
Conifers save you trouble
Evergreen species, which keep their leaves all year round, are especially suitable for ground cover. Try planting conifers between herbaceous beds or trees, where a lawn would need regular mowing all summer.
Make sure any you choose suit their location, and do not need much more attention than an annual prune and feed. They should be long lived — you want at least five, and preferably ten, years of pleasure from them.
A vibrant display
Conifers are available with green, yellow and blue foliage, but do not place one species next to another without considering the overall effect. Many varieties look their best as specimens. Ground cover evergreens are also very attractive when planted in, or accompanying colourful herbaceous flowers in a border.
Creating harmony between the neighbouring plants is as important with deciduous shrubs as it is with evergreens.
Single-species plantings can look dull, while extreme colour contrasts create a chaotic effect. Take care to match foliage and flower colours as well as flowering times.
SOLUTIONS FOR SLOPES
If you have sloping spots in your garden where theis continually being washed away, you can solve this problem by planting ground cover plants. Their root systems keep the soil in place, just as grass does on a cliff or mountain. Edges of paths can also be softened by growing striking, but easy-care, low or creeping ground cover plants.
Very sunny positions:
broom (x beanii, C. decumbent, C. x kewensis, Genista lydia, Genista sagittalis).
cinquefoil (fruticosa ‘Red Ace’).
cotoneaster (C. cochleatus, C. dammeri, C. microphyllus, C. salicifolius ‘Repens’).
St John’s wort (calycinum, H. x moserianum).
willow (Salix purpurea ‘Nana’, S. repens var. argentea).
Sunny to partial shade:
euonymus (Euonymus fortunei varieties).
evergreen honeysuckle (pileala).
heath (Erica species).
heather (Calluna vulgaris).
Magellan barberry (buxifolia ‘Nana’, B. candidula).
pernettya (Gaultheria mucronata).
privet (Ligustrum vulgare).
wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens).
Very shaded positions:
bilberry, blueberry, cranberry, whortleberry (Vaccinium species).
dwarf( forrestii Repens Group).
Oregon grape (aquifolium ‘Apollo’ and other cultivars).
St John’s wort (Hypericum patulum var. henryi).