Something Gorgeous Underfoot
You're most likely to appreciate the texture of an evergreen ground cover after a dusting of snow. But there are many reasons to like these tough little plants -- and many types to enjoy.
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Spring and early autumn -- usually cool and rainy times -- are the best seasons to plant ground covers. But now is a good time to consider where they would work best in your landscape. Use them to soften hard surfaces like walls or paths, to enliven shady spots where grass grows poorly, or to stabilize a steep bank.
Woodland gems such as Cornus canadensis, or bunchberry, are equally at home in a moist, humus-rich shade garden. White spring blooms on this low-growing dogwood turn into bright red fruits. Leaves flaunt a burgundy shade in fall.
When tread upon, the tiny leaves emit a sweet aroma. Polygonum affine is all foliage until fall, when showy flower spikes give gardens a needed lift.
Chartreuse blooms adorn lady's-mantle (Alchemilla mollis) in early summer, but the 15-inch-tall plants are grown more for their silvery leaves, which pair well with purple-blooming hardy geraniums, right. Lady's-mantle is a perfect edging for a path or a perennial border situated in light shade. In hot climates, locate in a moist, shady site.
If you will be buying your ground cover plants by mail, order early for best selection. The number of transplants you'll need depends on the size of theplanting area and how quickly you want it covered. Consider each plant's ultimate spread, too.