As garden designers perhaps the most common requests we hear from clients is for low maintenance planting.
Of course, there is no such thing as completely maintenance free planting, but there is one sure way to cut down the time you spend keeping weeds at bay, and that is a well thought out ground cover planting plan.
If you cover the bare ground with attractive plants which need little or no maintenance, you can reduce the chore of weeding and give yourself time to enjoy your garden.
Different ground cover plants, like all plants, have different requirements. Some tolerate dry shade, others like the sun, so you need, as always, to chose your ground cover plants with care.
Even those plants suggested here must be watered and protected from competing weeds until they are established. Then, in most situations, they will quickly cover the ground and grow so thickly that weeds should find it difficult to gain a foothold.
THE BORDERS AROUND THE LAWN IN APRIL
Allium ursinum. Wild Garlic is regarded by some gardeners as a weed, but in woodland situations, it it quickly covers the ground and supresses pernicious weeds.
Epimedium x perralchicum 'Frohnleiten'. Books say this suberb evergreen ground cover should be planted in moist and leafy well drained soil. Perhaps it should, but we have used it in many situations and it always seems to thrive. We find it especially useful to on banks and slopes .
Galium odoratum. This hardy plant spreads rapidly. It thrives in full sun or light shade and in early spring is covered in small, white star shaped flowers.
Heuchera 'Palace Purple' & Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'. The heuchera prefers sun or light shade and every spring produces tiny cream flowers on sprays about 20 cm long. The geranium will grow almost anywhere. It will quickly cover the ground but every couple of years it will need thining out.
Hostas, hellebores & epimediums covering the ground under Dicksonia antartica
Lamium 'White Nancy'. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.
Narcissi & Epimedium x perralchicum 'Frohnleiten'
Primula veris (Cowslip). A super plant to cover banks. It will grow almost anywhere and has the bonus of being fragrant.
Pulmonaria 'Sissinghurst White'. Plant in partial to full shade in reasonably moist soil.
Pulmonaria saccharata. Like all pulmonarias this hardy perennial covers the ground and is especially valued for its distinctive foliage.
Thymus 'Silver Queen' and Thumus coccineus. These sun-loving evergreens need a well-drained soil (a little grit helps). Be sure to clip the seed heads off after flowering.