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With strawberry-like leaves and bright yellow spring flowers, barren strawberries are an alternative evergreen groundcover or edging plant. They tolerate dry soil well and colonize banks and along woodland paths and between stepping stones in light shade or sun. They spread by runners and can cover a space relatively quickly.
plant Barren strawberry with
Barrenwort is a rare plant -- one that thrives in the dry shade beneath shallow-rooted trees! It spreads at a moderate rate, forming a graceful, dense groundcover. Almost as a bonus, it also produces dainty flowers shaped like a bishop's miter -- prompting another common name, bishop's cap. Its colorful foliage dangles on slender stalks, providing yet another moniker: fairy wings.
Phlox are one of those bounteous summer flowers any large sunny flowerbed or border shouldn't be without. There are several different kinds of phlox. Garden and meadow phlox produce large panicles of fragrant flowers in a wide assortment of colors. They also add height, heft, and charm to a border. Low-growing wild Sweet William, moss pinks, and creeping phlox are effective as ground covers, at the front of the border, and as rock and wild garden plants, especially in light shade. These native gems have been hybridized extensively especially to toughen the foliage against mildew problems; many recent selections are mildew-resistant. Phlox need amply moist soil for best overall health.
Who can't help but adore violets? Their cheerful "faces," often whiskered or otherwise marked, brighten the dreariest day in spring. Use them at the front of beds or borders as edging plants, as bedding plants, in containers and window boxes, in herb gardens, in wild gardens and in rock gardens too. There is a multitude of forms, many now winter hardy in cold climates, in all sizes and colors. Cut back straggly stems and deadhead routinely to prolong blooming. They self-seed freely, but are not invasive. Violets do best in lightly shaded places in soil that remains moist.