Guides: Ground Covers
There are 20 Hellebore species. Most are native to the mountainous regions of Europe, especially the Balkan region of the former Yugoslavia, south along the eastern Adriatic to Greece and Turkey. Many of the species have been interbred, producing countless hybrid Hellebores in a rich array of colors and forms.
Native to Southern Europe and Western Asia, Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks or Houseleek) is a mat-forming succulent, that produces irresistible, evergreen rosettes of thick, fleshy leaves. Cute but tough, their beauty resides largely in their infinite variations. They are available in a wide range of colors, from light to dark green to brown, pink and purple, either at the tips of the leaves or throughout the whole plant. The leaves may be pointed or rounded, glossy or matte, with a waxy bloom or with downy hairs. Their foliage colors vary with the sun exposure, the seasons and the climate.
A real charmer and an outstanding performer, Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) is a woodland flowering plant prized for its sweetly scented, bell-shaped flowers and attractive foliage. Widely grown in shade gardens for its cute blossoms and ground-covering abilities, Lily of the Valley is also a popular ingredient in perfumes and other cosmetics. Its fresh cut flowers are a favorite of florists.
Appealing to most gardeners, Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra) are easy-care perennials with heart-shaped flowers dangling in arching panicles or racemes above attractively divided leaves. Beautiful in leaf as soon as they sprout, they quickly add their charming blooms and make elegant additions to the garden
Learn how to plant, grow and care for Calendula and add a bright pop of color all summer long.
Native to Mexico and Central America, Echeverias are regarded by many as one of the most beautiful succulents. Evergreen, they form attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves and often resemble plum-petaled roses, waterlilies or ruffled lettuce. There are dozens of species, and hundreds of cultivars offering a wide array of colors, sizes or leaf shapes.
Ceanothus, commonly known as California Lilac, offers almost everything a gardener could wish for in a shrub: free flowering, lovely foliage, ease of cultivation, drought, and salt tolerance. Fast-growing, these desirable shrubs draw attention with their stunning flowers. When a California Lilac bursts into bloom, it is a breathtaking sight to behold.
Blueberries (Vaccinium) make excellent ornamental edibles. Evergreen or deciduous shrubs, they are worthy of inclusion in the garden where they offer multiple seasons of interest. They can be successfully grown in any size garden or planted in containers provided they are grown in acidic soil.
Appealing to most gardeners, Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) are rhizomatous or tuberous perennials with heart-shaped flowers dangling in arching panicles or racemes above attractively divided leaves. Shade tolerant, they bloom over a long season, extending from late spring to early fall, in cooler climates. In hotter climates, flowering will usually stop in the heat of the summer, but may start again when the weather cools in late summer or early fall. Beautiful in leaf as soon as they sprout, they quickly add their charming blooms and make elegant additions to the garden when combined with other shade-loving perennials.
There are 20 different Snowdrop species and several hundreds of hybrids. Yes, several hundreds (!). The craze known as Galanthophilia has swept through the ranks of gardening enthusiasts in the past few years. While all snowdrops look the same to the uninitiated - dainty, nodding white flowers, with a dab of green, held on a thin arching stalk at the end of a thicker stem - they reveal their differences when you take a closer look.
One of the most beloved of the spring woodland wildflowers, Trilliums (Wake Robin) are remarkable rhizomatous perennials with unbranched stems, noted for the perfect symmetry of their leaves, petals and sepals which all come in groups of three, hence the genus name. Their blooms can be either showy or discrete, their foliage handsomely mottled. Jewels of the shade garden, they are fully hardy and will blossom and blend beautifully with other woodland plants.
Healthy, sturdy, easy to please, the Montana group of clematis includes the most vigorous deciduous climbers within the clematis family. Their flowers are not as large or flashy as those of the large-flowered Clematis varieties, but they are full of charm, fragrant and so abundant!
Some Campanulas experience both a dense and rapid growth which helps to suppress weeds while creating a terrific blanket of flowers and foliage. They are perfect candidates for banks and slopes or areas that are difficult to maintain. Rewardingly floriferous, they form a carpet of nodding bells and are hard to beat in terms of floral display. Some produce so many flowers that they nearly cover the entire plant.
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