Ground cover plants have a place in every garden. They cover bare soil, crowd out weeds, shade the soil, prevent erosion and hold moisture.
Consult a reputable nursery before making a choice, though. You want one that stands up to tough conditions, but isn’t invasive.
The following plants are tough and usually problem-free.
Ajuga Reptans (bugleweed): The foliage can be green, purple or bronze and the spring flowers are usually blue. It spreads but is easy to contain. It tolerates dry to moist shade and partial sun.
Brunnera Macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’: Its heart-shaped leaves are edged in silver, and clusters of blue flowers appear in spring. Likes semi-shade and well-drained to moist soils.
Cotoneaster: This semi-evergreen shrub will grow in sun or shade and will cover a slope. In spring it features white flowers, and red berries add interest in the fall.
Geranium Macrorrhizum: This tough little plant is drought and heat tolerant and deer resistant. It smothers weeds and can withstand dry shade under trees. Flowers can be white, pink, purple or magenta.
Galium Odoratum (Sweet Woodruff): This is a vigorous, mat-forming ground cover that thrives in partial sun or total shade. Its clusters of starry white spring flowers have a heavenly fragrance. A perfect ground cover under roses or other shrubs.
Hellebore: One of the first perennials to bloom in the spring, often pushing up through the snow, hellebores are heat, drought, and humidity tolerant. Their long-lasting flowers come in a variety of colours.
Other attractive choices include Japanese Forest Grass, Japanese Painted Fern, Hart’s Tongue Fern, Bergenia, Wild Ginger and Ladies Mantle. In dry, sunny areas try Sedum, Lavender, Thyme, Creeping Phlox and Nepeta.
Growing Green is a regular feature written by the Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). Rita Bailey, the author of this report, is a member who gardens in downtown Hamilton, where she mixes vegetables, herbs, and flowers in her kitchen garden.