how to minimize weeding.

Welcome back for another Sunday morning in the garden.  Today I thought I’d share one of my secrets for minimizing the amount of weeding necessary in my gardens.  Groundcovers!

Well … groundcover plants I mean.  And it’s probably not really a secret.

I love using groundcover plants along the edges of my perennial borders.  As they mature, they fill in all around the taller plants, and they spill over the edges softening the line between lawn/patio/walkway and garden.  Once they fill in, they don’t leave any room for weeds to grow.  Sure, you’ll get the occasional clover popping up, but it’s super easy to pull those out.

The one shown above is a lamium (or dead-nettles).  I used to have the Pink Pewter variety of this plant and to be honest, I didn’t care for it.  I thought it was rather unattractive with the silvery color of its leaves.  I pulled all of that out one year, and now I just have the Lemon Frost variety.

The clump that gets a little more sun is much more yellow (above) than the clump in the shade (first photo).  I love the pop of brightness this lends to the garden.  And this stuff seems to be super hardy.  In warmer zones than ours it is considered evergreen, but oftentimes as the snow melts away in the spring I’ll find this stuff still looking somewhat green.  However, it is considered deciduous here in zone 4.

I originally purchased just one of these plants, and since then I have divided it multiple times and moved it to about five different spots in my garden.  I’ve also given chunks of it away to friends.  It definitely likes to spread.

It wasn’t until I started putting this post together that I realized just how many groundcover plants I have in my garden, so let’s take a look at some more of them.

First of all, that one above is a sedum or stonecrop.  I’ve had that one forever, so I’m not precisely sure which variety it is, but it’s likely Golden Creeping Sedum.  It has a yellow flower in early summer, but for most of the growing season it is just green.

Stonecrop prefers a full sun location, but it will tolerate some shade.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have very few full sun locations in my garden so my stonecrop is in partial shade and it seems to do fine.

Next up is sweet woodruff.

Sweet woodruff is a shade loving ground cover that spreads by runners.  So yes, it can get invasive.  Mine is planted with hostas which do a good job of holding their own against a ground cover.

This plant also flowers in early summer, and it has a pretty little white flower.

I planted some ajuga (or bugleweed) just two years about and it’s already filling in the area where I put it.

I’m not sure which variety I have, but it gets a spiky blue-ish flower on it in late spring.  You can also get ajuga with pink or white flowers.  This is another one that can be invasive, so it’s a good idea to plant it in an area where you can easily control the spread.  Mine is separated from the lawn by a brick border and so far it doesn’t seem to want to jump over that.

Another ground cover in my garden is English Ivy.

I hadn’t realized that one could grow English Ivy outdoors in our climate until I saw it growing in someone’s garden who was having a garage sale.  I asked her about it, and she kindly offered to dig up a chunk of it for me.  I’ve had it ever since, and that must have been nearly 20 years ago or more.

I love the look of ivy growing over stone walls, it feels so very … well … English.

There are lots of articles out there on the web about how to kill English Ivy, or how to remove it from a brick wall.  In other words, it can be very invasive and it can do damage to masonry.  But here in my zone 4 Minnesota garden, it seems to just barely hang on from year to year.  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve had it for at least two decades or more and it hasn’t really even filled in the small bed where it’s planted.  I also have to admit that it doesn’t do a great job of weed suppression because it doesn’t fill in enough to cover all of the ground.  So more weeds pop up under this one than the others that I’m mentioning in this post.

I’m going to try a little experiment this winter with some English Ivy growing in a pot.

I don’t think it will survive the winter in a pot, but I’m going to leave it in there and see what happens.

Probably the most invasive of the ground covers in my garden is this variegated vinca.

This is one that I have to beat back on a regular basis.  So if you’re looking for a ground cover that will fill in quickly, cover a large area and not need much care, this one is a good choice for that.

How about you?  Do you have any groundcovers in your garden?  Do you have a favorite that I haven’t mentioned here?  Leave a comment and let us know, and then get out in your garden!

One thought on “how to minimize weeding.

  1. Well, I enjoyed this one Miss Quandie! It’s a testament to your great writing ability that I could imagine each groundcover as an anthropomorphized cartoon character, battling those weeds or each other! Or heroically fighting to survive and thrive like the Ivy! Hahahahahahahaha! Good job! 👍😁😄


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