Natural Ground Cover

Landscaping with natural ground cover is an option in problem areas. Growing and maintaining ground cover is easy, and there are many fast-growing varieties.

Ground cover is a great solution for bare areas beneath shade trees, areas that are hard to mow, and locations where weeds are a problem. Besides being useful, it is also beautiful. Ground cover is often planted in flower beds and amongst bushes to fill in open spaces.

According to the website "Gardening With the Garden Helper", in the article entitled "Growing Ground Covers in Your Garden", preparation of the soil before planting is important. This should be done by eliminating any weeds and turning the soil. The same article recommends planting ground cover approximately twelve inches apart during the spring or in the early weeks of summer. Planting early gives the ground cover several months to grow before cooler weather arrives.

To control weeds, retain moisture, and control the ground temperature, an abundant covering of mulch can be placed around newly planted ground cover, suggests "Growing Ground Covers in Your Garden". Ground cover can take at least a year to begin growing and spreading, and the same article says it needs to be watered on a regular basis until it becomes established.

"Growing Ground Covers in Your Garden" further instructs by saying ground cover should be mowed or pruned on occasion. This will keep it under control and neat looking. The same article says English ivy, which will be discussed later, and pachysandra are two plants in particular that look nicer if they are mowed to a height of six inches once every two years.

Several common ground cover descriptions and general instructions for their care are adapted from the book "Burpee: Complete Gardener" which was published by Macmillan in 1995, and are listed in the following paragraphs.

Lily-of-the-valley is a well-known, delightfully aromatic plant that bears white, bell-shaped flowers. It reaches a height of about twelve inches and spreads abundantly. It grows well in zones two through eight in full to partial shade.

Wintergreen is a slow-growing, aromatic ground cover that reaches a height of four inches. It thrives in full to partial shade in zones three through eight, and it requires acidic, moist soil. Wintergreen has thick, oval shaped foliage that turns a beautiful shade of red in the fall. It also has little flowers that are a pale shade of pink. It later produces attractive red berries.

English ivy is a popular ground cover that grows beautifully in sunny and shady areas. It is available with either green or green and gold foliage. This hearty ground cover reaches a height of six to eight inches, and it is recommended for zones six through ten.

Creeping Jenny is characterized by sunny yellow, sweetly scented flowers and its little green oval-shaped leaves. It does well in zones three through eight in full or partial shade. Creeping Jenny likes moist soil and reaches a height of about two to four inches.

Periwinkle sports beautifully colored blue flowers and has shiny green foliage. They thrive in full to partial shade in zones four through nine. Periwinkle likes soil that is rich with humus, moist, and loosely packed.

The many varieties of ground cover available through garden centers and mail-order catalogs allows endless possibilities for landscaping. Properly maintained landscaping is not only beautiful - it will add value to your property. Ground cover is inexpensive, easy to grow and maintain, and it is an attractive addition to any landscaping project.

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