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Get all the low down on ground cover plants

Thursday, 9th August, 2018 9:16am

Ground cover plants are the perfect solution to many of our gardening landscape issues. They can be used for many practical purposes as well as being aesthetically pleasing.

We suggest these throughout our garden design, especially in large areas that can be difficult to maintain or if you need to cover slopes where mowing can be difficult. They are also perfect for shady areas where turf grasses don't grow well.

Ground cover plants can be broken up into evergreen shrubs and perennial plants. Here are a few of both shrubs and plants that I would recommend.

Ground cover shrubs

Grevillea Lanigera Mount Tamboritha is an utterly charming, low-growing shrub that copes perfectly in a wide range of climatic conditions. This native of Australia resists every heavy blow that Mother Nature throws at it, from stormy coastal winds, to hot and dry summers to extreme winter cold.

It is a superbly neat evergreen that only grows to a height of 30-50 cm, but can spread to a width of about 1.5-two metres. Its dense and soft needle-like foliage and its toughness, make it ideal for planting over terrace walls and for filling gaps on slopes.

It is also lovely in a rock and gravel garden. The flowers are spider-like clusters and can be red or pinkish-cream and they are best suited for a sunny position.

The Grevillea is considered valuable as a honeybee plant because it produces such significant amounts of nectar and pollen over a long period of time.

If you are looking for a hardy evergreen to cover the ground quickly, Cotoneaster Queen of Carpets is the plant for you.

The low growing, stiff stems hug the soil. In early summer, the rounded evergreen leaves are the perfect backdrop to single white flowers that smother the branches. These are adored by bees and their work will result in plenty of bright red berries through the autumn. These are valuable food for birds and small mammals as the prepare for the winter months.

Vinca Illumination is a stunning golden variegated foliage which trails like liquid gold from the basket or container with fantastic mauve periwinkle flowers for spring and summer. This is great for difficult areas and will give vibrant colour all year round. Another great vinca with a glossy green leaf is the Vinca Bowles Purple.

Did you know that ground cover shrubs are usually low maintenance and will help suppress the weeds? Other great shrub for ground cover are Hedra (ivy), Ceanothus and heathers. These tough and decorative ground covers will fill your garden gaps with style.

Ground cover perrenials

The problem solvers of the garden, they’re attractive and fill in where other plants won’t grow. You can use them as alternatives to high-maintenance lawns. Best of all, there is such a large range that there is one to suit every style or aspect in your garden.

For rockeries and stoney areas, most ground cover plants will thrive.

The best Alpines include the Coca Cola Sedum with its vibrant purple foliage and the Lamium 'White Nancy', with its varigated silver and green leaf.

For a long flowering season, I would always introduce colorful perennials into the beds like Nepeta Catmint, Erodiums or the award wining Diascia.

The orange Diascia will bring an instant blast of colour to any area of your garden. As for a ground cover plant for a shady area, Geranium Rozzane or Geranium Tiny Monster will thrive and blossom all summer long till first frost.

It is perfect for under trees or as a border plant in front of large shrubs and hedges.

So if you have that area that could use a facelift and is difficult to maintain, then I would recommend a ground cover plant or shrub.

If you would like help with designing this bed, bring a photo on your smart phone or laptop to one of our garden design team here at Griffins Garden Centre in Dripsey or phone 021-7334286.

Free kids event: Get involved in Cork's annual bulb day, where are Cork kids are invited to plant up a pot of spring flowering bulbs to take home and grow on Saturday 18 August from 12-4pm. Full details on griffinsgardencentre.ie.

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