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Classic Ground Covers

These long-standing selections offer the best in winter hardiness, wide soil adatability and time-tested low-maintenance for the busy landscaper. These plants can thrive in challenging sites and urban gardens where some natives won't. 
 

Sold in 4" (10 cm) pots; other formats noted below.
We currently grow: 
Aegopodium podograria 'Variegatum' (Variegated Bishop's Weed)
Ajuga reptans 'Bronze Beauty' (Bronze Beauty Bugleweed)
Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow' (Burgundy Glow Bugleweed)
Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)
Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus' (Purpleleaf Wintercreeper)
Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff)
Lamium maculatum 'Pink Pewter' (Spotted Dead Nettle)
Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy' (Spotted Dead Nettle)
Lysimachia nummularia (Green Creeping Jenny)
Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea' (Gold Creeping Jenny)
Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese Spurge)
Companions for Classic Ground Covers
Variegated Bishop's Weed
Aegopodium podograria 'Variegatum'

 

Height         6-8 inches (15-20 cm)

Spread        24-48 inches (60-48 cm) or more, deep root barrier suggested

Flower         White

Blooming     Late spring

Hardiness    Zone 3-8

Light           Full sun to full shade

Moisture      Average to moist

Soil             Adaptable to all but driest soils
 

Over time, we move with the shifting trends of popular ground covers; however we still maintain small quantities of this for very problematic landscape sites in urban areas. We recognize this plant as an agressive colonizer not comptabile in most small-scale gardens, but it still does suit purposes bounded by concrete, against dry foundation walls, and below dense Norway maples and spruce trees. It's variegated foliage lights up dense shade, outcompetes weeds and it rarely sets seed. 

 

Recommendations for growing Bishop's Weed

Consider this plant if there are no other reasonable alternatives and it will be compatible with the site (cannot escape boundaries, use root barriers) and other species. Never use in or near a natural woodlot. Drier sites and poorer soils offer the chance to utilize it and slow its growth, though average garden soil and moisture will produce clean foliage all season. No on-going maintenance is required, except perhaps mowing to rejuvenate the planting, and containment. Herbicides are very effective.

 
 
Bugleweed
Ajuga reptans 'Bronze Beauty'
Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow'

 

Height         3-4 inches (8-10 cm), flowers to 6" (15 cm)

Spread        12-24 inches (30-60 cm), continually spreading

Foliage        'Bronze Beauty' has large dark burgundy and green leaves
                  'Burgundy Glow' has variegated cream, pink and gray leaves

Flower         Bluish-violet, attracts bumblebees

Blooming     Late spring

Hardiness    Zone 3-9

Light           Part shade

Moisture      Average

Soil             Well-drained, lighter soils best, but adapatable 

 

Bugleweeds are colourful, fast-growing stoloniferous perennials for small to medium area coverage, or for use in mixed containers. Bumblebees flock to these plants in flower. 

 

Recommendations for growing Bugleweed

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Sold in 4" (10 cm) pots or 24-clump grower's flats

Lily of the Valley
Convallaria majalis

 

Height         6-10 inches (15-25 cm)

Spread        24-36 inches (30-45 cm) or more

Flower         White, very fragrant

Blooming     Spring

Hardiness    Zone 2-7

Light           Part shade to full shade

Moisture      Average to moist, tolerates periodic drought

Soil             Humus-rich, neutral to acidic 

 

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Recommendations for growing Lily of the Valley

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Purpleleaf Wintercreeper
Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus'

 

Height         12-18 inches (30-45 cm)

Spread        24-36 inches (60-90 cm) 

Foliage        Evergreen

Hardiness    Zone 5-9

Light           Full sun to part shade

Moisture      Average

Soil             

 

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Recommendations for growing Wintercreeper

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Sold in 100-ct grower's flats, 4" (10 cm) pots and 1 gallon

 
Sweet Woodruff
Galium odoratum

 

Height         6-8 inches (15-20 cm)

Spread        12 inches (30 cm)

Flower         White

Blooming     Late spring

Hardiness    Zone 3-8

Light           Part shade to full shade

Moisture      Average to dry

Soil             Adaptable, may not persist in heavy clay

 

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Recommendations for growing Sweet Woodruff

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Spotted Dead Nettle
Lamium maculatum 'Pink Pewter'
Lamium maculatum 'Red Nancy' occasionally offered
Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy'

Height         4-6 inches (10-15 cm)

Spread        12-16" inches (30-40 cm) 

Flower         Light pink, deep pink or white

Blooming     Summer to Fall

Hardiness    Zone 3-8

Light           Part shade to shade

Moisture      Average to dry

Soil             Adaptable

 

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Recommendations for growing Spotted Dead Nettle

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Creeping Jenny
Lysimachia nummularia
Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'

 

Height         

Spread        

Flower         

Blooming     Spring to fall

Hardiness    Zone 3-8

Light           Sun to shade

Moisture      Average to dry

Soil             Adaptable

 

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Recommendations for growing Creeping Jenny

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Labrador Violet
Viola labradorica 'Purpurea'

 

Height         4-6 inches (10-15 cm)

Spread        8-12" inches (20-30 cm), and by seed 

Flower         Purple

Blooming     Spring to fall

Hardiness    Zone 3-8

Light           Sun to shade

Moisture      Average to dry

Soil             Adaptable

 

Although the name suggests otherwise, this species is widespread in Canada and the US, from the East Coast to Alaska, south to New Hampshire. Allan Armitage calls this "one of the best garden violets in the entire genus". This hardy and ornamental selection is notable for its attractive rich purple, heart-shaped leaves, welcome early spring flush of purple flowers, and adaptable nature to a variety of sites. Clumps spread outward by short stolons and also by an abundance of seeds. Well suited to naturalized landscapes, rock gardens, cracks and crevices of slopes, and worthy of attention for interplanting with ther smaller ground covers, ferns and beneath large trees. A much better choice than Viola odorata.

 

Recommendations for growing Labrador Violet

Of all the native plants in our repetoire, this is probably the easiest to grow. Performs its best with average moisture, average fertility and part shade, but seedlings will find their way to the most appropriate places. Foliage colour bleaches out in full sun. Low tolerance for extended periods of drought. Plant at soil surface and mulch with composted pine bark fines. If you do not wish to have to so many seedlings, shear spent flowers. Small seedlings are easy to weed or transplant if desired.

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