Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Groundcover Plants Add to a Garden

Groundcover Plants Add to a Garden

I have pachysandra growing in my backyard. It is flowering now; delicate white blossoms are peeking out from their green leaves. Pachysandra is a groundcover plant. Groundcover is exactly what it says – a plant that covers the ground. It spreads easily and makes the space where it’s planted a garden feature.

We have another groundcover in our front yard, too. It is Vinca or periwinkle, a plant that sprouts little purple flowers and can take over a lawn.

I love the way these plants seem to take care of themselves. Whatever the season, they bring green vibrancy to the area where they grow. In Spring, they send up flowers that are a nice reminder of what is ahead. In Winter, they remain green under the snow and slough off the frigid temperatures. The rest of the year they just grow – and spread – as the garden goes through its cycles.

There are a variety of reasons to plant groundcover. A steep incline can be kept from losing soil with a covering of St. John’s Wort, for instance. Shady spots that could use a little color would look nice with a covering of blue Ajuga leaves. There is a plant for almost every need. Plus, I think, groundcover plants add an air of sophisticated neatness to a garden.

It’s almost as if groundcover knows it has a chore to do and just does it. It makes me think of the idiom to “cover a lot of ground” which means to deal with a lot of information or to travel a great distance. It implies a purpose and determination, a stick-to-it quality. I hope I have that when there is a job to be done. There is a positive energy to the phrase, a hint of admiration when someone covers a lot of ground. These plants seem to embody the concept and I do admire them for it.

Some varieties to investigate:

Do you have a favorite groundcover? Now is the time for planting so I’d love to hear about it.


  1. Ferida,

    Another beautifully written essay. We need ground cover in our yard because we have so much shade that grass won't grow.

    But our beautiful pachysandra started dying in droves last year, and I don't know why.


    1. We just planted some pachysandra under our maple tree which is mostly roots and shade. I'll let you know what happens.

  2. Our pachysandra is "iffy," as well. It looks great in some spots and straggly in others. We have had good success with ajuga, however. Talk about stick to it - I was so excited to see that it survived the winter and I'm delighted to see the purple spikes so early in the season.