ground cover for summer dormant bulbs
Tue, 26 Jul 2005 23:30:52 PDT
Every year, about this time, I am vexed by the sight of bare soil where the
spring bulbs have gone dormant. I hate bare soil as it seems such a wasted
opportunity to be growing something, so I am looking for plants to form a
low carpet over these areas. Ideally these should be perennial, need no care
or supplementary water, form a mat over the area, but not offer any
resistance to an emerging shoot, or any competition to the growing bulbs
that are the most important occupants of the space.

Certain Sedums are suitable, and in a rock garden setting there would be
many options from the genus, but the areas I need to cover are in a
'woodland' garden with shade for part of the day. Yesterday, taking
advantage of moistish ground and the forecast of two or three days of wet
weather (yippee!) I put out some plants of Pratia pedunculata and Leptinella
(Cotula) 'Platt's Black' over snowdrop patches. Last year I used a rather
good bright green Leptinella that I had from Wayne Roderick (any suggestions
for identification would be welcome!). It has tolerated the conditions quite
well, but for some obscure reason I only planted it in areas where there is
only a narrow fringe of 'bare' ground between thick herbaceous plants and
the edge of the bed. In other areas there are several square feet of bare
ground to cover in the case of the bigger patches of snowdrops, so some
vigour is needed.

I should be very interested to hear what other people use or could suggest.

John Grimshaw

Dr John M. Grimshaw
Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens

Sycamore Cottage
Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL53 9NP


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