Thursday, April 1, 2021

12 Groundcovers for Your Gardening Space

12 Groundcovers for Your Garden
Welcome to This Month in the Garden! Groundcovers are a welcomed addition to many a garden and are known for their relatively low maintenance and adaptability. Many are drought tolerant once established, will thrive in a variety of soil types, and often serve as the perfect addition for those trouble spots. While planning your gardening season, you may want to consider some of these interesting selections.
Lusimachia nummularia 'Moneywort' (Creeping Jenny)
First on the list is Creeping Jenny. This evergreen perennial with lime green foliage will create a carpet of color. Hardy in USDA zones 3-9, this vigorous groundcover grows to a height of 2-4 inches tall and has a spread of 18-24 inches wide. Plant this perennial in full sun to partial shade in a moderately moist soil and give it space to grow. Bright golden-yellow flowers are produced late spring into summer. Creeping Jenny is perfect for planting in rock gardens or surrounding  a garden statue.
Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' (Bugleweed)
Ajuga or Bugleweed is a quick growing, easy to maintain groundcover, which is excellent when planted in shady locations where other plants may have difficulty. Hardy in UDSA zones 3-9, Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' is one of the most popular varieties of ajuga, known for its low mounding foliage which is dappled in hues of green, cream and smoky pink to burgundy. Spikes of blue-purple flowers appear in mid-spring to early summer on a 4-6 inch tall by 12-18 inch wide plant. 'Burgundy Glow' is excellent as a groundcover in smaller areas. If you are looking to cover a larger area, either bronze or green-leaved varieties, such as 'Catlin's Giant' are recommended. Plant ajuga in full sun to full shade in a location with moderate watering. Ajuga is butterfly friendly and deer resistant.
Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nanus' (Dwarf Mondo Grass)
Hardy in USDA zones 6-10, Dwarf Mondo Grass is perfect as a groundcover, edging or mass planting. This variety forms a mat of evergreen foliage 6-12 inches high by wide and prefers to be grown in filtered sun and a moderately moist soil. In summer, small stalks with purple flowers emerge. Mondo Grass is low maintenance, often used as a lawn substitute and is deer resistant.
Liriope muscari 'Variegata' (Variegated Lilyturf)
Hardy in USDA zones 6-11, Liriope 'Variegata' (Lilyturf) is a clump forming evergreen perennial, displaying striped green and creamy white grass-like variegated foliage on an 8 to16 inch tall by 8 to 12 inch wide plant. Liriope is perfect as a groundcover in areas of partial to full shade where ornamental grasses may have difficulty. In mid-summer to early fall, short spikes of deep purple flowers resembling tiny Grape Hyacinths appear, adding late season interest to the landscape. To promote new growth, remove any winter damaged foliage from this perennial in early spring once new foliage starts to emerge.
Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox or Moss Pink)
Creeping or groundcover phlox is an excellent herbaceous perennial, forming a carpet of colorful blooms in mid-late spring. Hardy in USDA zones 3-8, this perennial grows to a height and width of 4-6 inches tall by 12-18 inches wide and prefers a location with full sun and a moderately moist well drained soil. This popular perennial is best suited for rock gardens, slopes and perennial borders. Depending on the species, blooms range from white to pink, rose, lavender and magenta. Creeping phlox does not require deadheading, but a slight shearing after bloom can make for a tidier plant and in some cases a second bloom.
Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'
Sedum Dragon's Blood may seem like a strange name, but it comes from the color of this interesting plant. This succulent perennial, hardy in USDA zones 3-9, exhibits deep rosy-red foliage that persists throughout summer and into fall. Deep red flower buds open to pink star shaped blooms in early to late summer and last for weeks. Sedum 'Dragon's Blood' prefers a well-drained soil in full sun and is drought tolerant once established. This plant is excellent in rock gardens and borders, quickly forms a carpet of color, and can be easily propagated from stem cuttings.
Sedum 'Angelica'
Hardy in USDA zones 6-9, Sedum 'Angelica' is a groundcover succulent known or its golden-yellow foliage and delicate yellow blooms that come about in mid-summer. Foliage is evergreen in warmer climates and turns to a copper-orange before dormancy in colder climates. Plant Sedum 'Angelica' in a location with full sun and a well-drained soil. This perennial is an excellent addition to rock gardens, waterfalls, borders and hard to grow places and is drought tolerant once established.
Sedum 'Aurea'
Sedum 'Aurea' is yet another variety of low maintenance succulent. Sedum 'Aurea' is hardy in USDA zones and forms a 2-4 inch high carpet of tiny pale yellow leaves followed by yellow star-like blooms in summer. Plant this perennial in full sun to partial shade in a well-drained soil. Propagation is easily accomplished through stem cuttings and this perennial can easily be used in hard to reach places, as in between crevasses on a waterfall or rock wall.
Sedum 'Lime Twister'
Hardy in USDA zones 4-9, Sedum 'Lime Twister' is a low maintenance succulent groundcover excellent for rock gardens, containers and borders. Two-tone lime green foliage edged with creamy yellow leads to the production of soft pink flower clusters in late summer. Plant 'Lime Twister' in full to partial sun in a well-drained soil. This perennial is drought tolerant once established. Average size is approximately 4 inches tall by 18 inches wide.
Dwarf  Golden Sweet Flag
Acorus gramineus ‘Minimus Aureus’ (Dwarf Golden Sweet Flag) is not a true grass but grows in tufts of golden grass-like leaves, forming a dense carpet of bright golden semi-evergreen foliage. Sweet Flag is hardy in zones 5-9 and prefers to be grown in partial sun to dense shade in a moderately moist soil. This dwarf variety slowly spreads by rhizomes and reaches a height of just 4 inches tall with a spread of 8-12 inches or more. Sweet Flag serves nicely in a pond setting, rock garden, or foundation planting, or as a ground cover under the canopy of trees.
Variegated Golden Sedge
Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ (Variegated Japanese Sedge) is a grass-like evergreen perennial forming low clumps only 6-8 inches tall by 9-12 inches wide. It prefers to be grown in part sun to full shade in a moist, loamy soil. Carex ‘Evergold’ is hardy in zones 5-9 and displays a green-yellow variegated foliage.  It serves nicely in a rock garden, foundation planting or perennial border.
Vinca minor (Periwinkle)
Last, but not least is Vinca minor, also known as Periwinkle. Vinca minor is a popular evergreen groundcover, hardy in USDA zones 4-8, that forms a dense carpet of trailing stems with dark evergreen foliage. Tubular lavender-blue flowers are produced in spring and early summer, which last for several weeks into fall. Vinca minor prefers a location with full sun to part shade in a dry to medium soil. Plants grow to a height and width of approximately 4-6 inches tall and spread to a width of 18 inches and more. This perennial is deer resistant and drought tolerant once established.
Sedum Groundcover Mix

12 Groundcovers for Your Garden
I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden-12 Groundcovers for Your Space. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. and 15th. of each month as I continue to share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Ruby Tuesday and Image-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up.

 For gardening info and tips: Visit my Author Page/Purchase My Books  😊
Author: Lee @A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2021. All rights reserved

Monday, March 15, 2021

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up March: Long Island Late Winter Garden

Welcome to my March Long Island Garden!
Welcome to my zone 7a northeastern garden. What a difference a month makes! While the month of February was one snow storm after another, the month of March came in like a lamb on the 1st. The announcement of the "windy month" here in the northeast was made on the 2nd and 3rd as winds gusted up to 50 mph, reminding us that March is an unpredictable month weather wise. The remainder of the week brought days that brought back thoughts of winter, followed by temperatures in the upper 50's to low 60's, signaling that spring is on the way! Today for Bloom Day, the cold winds have returned once again, but spring is just five days away, and the blooms are here to stay!
Hellebore (Lenten Rose) 'Shooting Star'
In the late winter garden, Hellebores continue to bloom from January and are doing well after being covered in snow. This evergreen perennial is quite resilient and holds up well in our cold winters.
Hellebore (Lenten Rose) 'Shooting Star'
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' is one of my favorite varieties of Lenten Rose and is also one of the longest blooming, from winter right into spring.
Hyacinth Foliage
There is spring in the air! In the perennial border, Hyacinth are pushing their foliage up through the ground a little more each passing day.
Golden Skylands Oriental Spruce
As spring blooming bulbs start to show their foliage, the vibrant pinkish-red stems of the Coral Bark Maple in the Front bed continues to "glow" against the golden foliage of Oriental Spruce.
Skylands Spruce Seed Cones Late Winter
Here are the older seed cones of the Skylands Spruce up close. Newer cones form in spring and take on a purplish hue. 
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkins
Pussy Willow catkins are a definite sign of spring. Every March, I look forward to the brown buds which open to expose fluffy white centers that last for weeks, before bursting open to expose their yellow pollen covered anthers later in the month and into April.
Evergreens in the Back Pool Garden (Oriental Spruce, Rhododendron and Azalea)

Gerards' Crimson Azalea
In the back pool garden, Azalea Girard's Crimson is showing off its deep burgundy foliage, which is most evident in late winter going into spring. Soon, buds which are now appearing, will lead to bountiful blooms.
Garden Whimsy
There are more Azalea behind this statue in the eastern side of the pool garden. Watch for their vibrant purple blooms in the upcoming months!
Nellie Stevens Holly Berries Late Winter
Ilex 'Nellie Stevens' holds down the fort during the winter months with its brilliant red berries, which continue into spring. The berries are also an important source of food for the birds.
Back Shade Garden
There is always something evergreen in the back shade garden. The foliage of Leucothoe 'Axillaris' is showing some burgundy highlights this time of year.
Leucothoe 'Axillaris- Late Winter
Besides the interesting foliage, Leucothoe will flower in later months.
Front Walkway Garden
Come along to the front eastern side of the property. Here is a view of the front gardens with Weeping White Pine as a prominent feature in this view. Golden Skylands Spruce and Coal Bark Maple can be seen in the backdrop along the driveway border. Beneath the Weeping White Pine are Golden Variegated Sedge.
Front Weeping Japanese Maple Late Winter
In the front is Weeping Japanese Maple 'Viridis'. If you look closely, you can see evidence of the sap  rising into the stems, giving a slight glow of green. With the warmer temperatures, it shouldn't be long until it leaves out.
Front Raised Island Bed Southeastern Side
In the front island bed, Osmanthus 'Goshiki' is showing some newer growth. Behind the variegated foliage of Osmanthus is Weeping Norway Spruce and the Weeping Japanese Maple we just saw up close.
Sedum 'Brilliant' rosettes
Sedum 'Brilliant' is showing signs of life, and Magnolia 'Royal Star' is showing its buds, which get bigger by the day!
Magnolia 'Royal Star' Buds

 Helleborus orientalis 'Merlin'
This variety of Lenten Rose, 'Merlin', is in the back border.  It starts blooming in February, after 'Shooting Star', has deeper pink blooms and lasts throughout April.
Winter Garden Bear

Helleborus orientalis 'Champion'
Hellebore 'Champion' has buds now in March, which will start opening very soon. Having the various varieties of Lenten Rose allows the gardening season to begin in January.
Thanks for Visiting!
Thank you for visiting my March garden. As always, I enjoy hearing from you and seeing what's growing in your neck of the woods! Special thanks go out to our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Also, special thanks to Pam Penick at Digging who has hosted Foliage Follow-Up for all these years, a meme I will still continue to honor. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday FotosMacro Monday 2, Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsImage-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party every other Monday with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Weekly Photo Link-Up at My Corner of the World on Wednesdays and Garden Affair at Jaipur Garden



Monday, March 1, 2021

This Month in the Garden: Long Island Places and Garden Memories-A Few of my Favorite Things

 Welcome to This Month in the Garden!
I have been gardening all my life, but it has been in the past ten years or so that I have taken an interest in garden photography. With camera in hand, I try to capture the best of every garden I visit and have a massive library of those "special memories". I am sharing some of my personal favorites with you today, a selection which holds a special place in my heart.
Temple of Love at Old Westbury Gardens
One of my favorite botanical gardens here on Long Island is Old Westbury Gardens, located on the north shore along the ‘Gold Coast’. Old Westbury Gardens is one of the most beautiful estate gardens I have ever visited, and continue to re-visit. In the entrance to the gardens is a 23-room mansion, built in 1906 for American lawyer and businessman John S. Phipps, his wife Margarita Grace and their four children. Opened to the public in 1959, the mansion is surrounded by 200 acres of meticulously manicured grounds, formal gardens, woodlands and watersheds. This photograph is of the beautiful and romantic “Temple of Love”, a gazebo constructed of marble and wrought iron, located along the lake right behind the mansion. Today, the gardens and mansion are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lotus Flower Old Westbury Gardens
I have taken hundreds of photos of these gardens, and this is one of my favorite captures, one of a Lotus bloom in the pond at the Walled Garden during summertime.
 North fork Sunflower Maze, Mattituck, Long Island
This photo has a very special meaning. If you are familiar with my third book, Dream, Garden, Grow, there is an entire chapter about the meaning of sunflowers, and it was sparked by a single visit to eastern Long Island. After viewing a story on the local news about a sunflower maze opening to visitors for the first time, I told my husband that I had to go there. I had memories of taking car rides out east with my parents and seeing huge fields of sunflowers, and always had a desire to stand among the huge flowers. Unfortunately, in those days, the public was not given access. That day during the summer of 2018, when a childhood dream came true, was something I wanted to share. I started writing and the memories flowed out onto paper.
Tool Shed Peconic River Herb Farm
Another special place is the Peconic River Herb Farm here on Long Island. The farm was established in 1986 along the Peconic River on the eastern end of Long Island in Calverton, New York, and consists of 14 acres of display gardens, eight greenhouses, a garden shop and picnic areas for visitors to relax and enjoy the view. The owner Cristina Spindler’s husband built most of the structures on the farm and this photograph of the old fashioned tool shed is one my favorites!
Hydrangea Walk Peconic River Herb Farm
At the farm is this hydrangea walk, which leads to a view of a frog pond and the Peconic River. Unfortunately, the arbor was destroyed during one of the last storms, but I have the photo to remember it by. 
Avalon Park & Preserve, Long Island
During a visit to Avalon Park & Preserve for the first time last year, this labyrinth and sculpture really intrigued me. This private park, located on the north shore of Long Island in the town of Stony Brook was created to celebrate the life of Paul Simons, a native Long Islander, who always had a deep appreciation for the outdoors. His life was prematurely taken away in 1996, and the abandoned 7.5 acres of residential land was purchased for Avalon Park in his memory. Knowing the story behind the park, this bronze sculpture of the “broken” man climbing the wall immediately became very meaningful to me.
Letters to Heaven Sculpture Avalon Park
Another intriguing piece of artwork at the park is this giant metal sculpture in which the artist included a slit in the side for visitors to write letters to loved ones, send prayers, or share a thought. I had never seen anything like it before and I did insert a note. The day at Avalon Park and Preserve created a new memory.
Lotus Pond Verderber’s Nursery
If you ever get to visit Long Island, one of my favorite places to visit is Verderber's Nursery on the north shore of the island in Aquebogue. The grounds resemble a botanical garden with acres of plants arranged according to type or environment needs, water features, a pond with wildlife, gazebos, and even a selection of  unusual birds to visit. A lotus flower blooming in one of their water features caught my attention and the camera on my cell phone came in handy!
Frog Pond Verderber’s Nursery
I even had the pleasure of seeing this rather large Bullfrog, that even posed for the photo shoot. Going back and looking at these captures brings back fond memories of a great day out east last summer and a lovely visit to my favorite place!
Bumblebee on Coneflower
I have always enjoyed watching bumblebees as they gather nectar from flowers, The above photograph was taken with a macro lens some years ago, is in my photo collection, and one I go back to look at often. This very photo also made it into my second book, Landscape Design Combinations
Bumblebee Visitor
Here is another bumblebee capture. They do love all the pollinator friendly flowers in the garden!
Monarch Butterfly on Butterfly Bush
As you can see, we are getting into my collection of garden visitors. Monarch Butterflies frequent the Butterfly Bush that resides along the back patio area. This is one of my favorite captures.
Green Darner Dragonfly
For this capture, I was in the right place at the right time! We do get an abundance of dragonflies in the garden every summer, but this was one of the largest ones I had ever encountered. There it appeared on a rhododendron while I was walking around the garden. Sparked from this photo and seeing dragonflies each summer, another chapter in Dream, Garden, Grow had materialized!
Canadian Goose
This story behind this photograph is a bit funny. A couple of winters ago, one Canadian Goose landed  in our backyard and I was so excited that I quickly brought out some bread to feed him, since it was so cold and snowy and I wanted to have time to get my good camera and photograph him. Within five minutes, an entire flock of squawking Canadian Geese landed on the lawn. There must have been twenty or so of them and as they ate, they heavily fertilized our lawn. They stayed for hours, not wanting to leave, and it got to the point that they had well overstayed their welcome. I went outside waving my arms and clapping, and after some time, they finally flew off. The next day, the flock of geese flew over looking for more bread. Thank goodness, I didn’t have any!!!
Deer Smithpoint Park
This is one of my favorite photographs and the best capture that I was ever able to get of a deer. I had been working near Smithpoint Beach here on Long Island and had my good camera with me. It was at the end of the day, so I figured I’d drive down to the beach parking area, relax some, and take in the sights. Within minutes, this beautiful doe walked straight towards me, and with camera in hand, she allowed me to take her photo. At the time, I had been working on a chapter about "deer resistant" plantings for my first book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening. Timing is everything, since this was just the photo I needed!
Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge
This picture is of the first time I was ever able to feed a wild bird out of my hand. We are fortunate to have the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge, located right here on Long Island in the town of Sag Harbor. The 187-acre National Wildlife Refuge is the home of  many varieties of wildlife, including birds, wild turkeys, chipmunks, and endangered wildlife. The birds feel so safe and and used to visitors, that they will eat seed right from your hand. I love how there is a growing number of  sanctuaries a not too long drive from where we live.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
This photograph was taken right in our own backyard! I have been putting hummingbird feeders out every spring with great hopes of someday having a visitor. I had a sighting of a ruby throated hummingbird near the end of the summer of 2019, that appeared to be a stop over on the journey down south. Attracted to the Crape Myrtle in the backyard, he found the feeder that had awaited him all summer. After a couple of visits he was gone. This following spring of 2020, I had high hopes that he would return, so I put the feeder out early. All of a sudden, there he was! I believe it could have actually been the same one as the year before, and he adopted the feeder, frequenting it several times a day. Each time I called for my husband to come see the hummingbird, the bird had already flown away, and it became an ongoing joke that I was imaging its presence. The ending of the story is...it was my husband who took this picture!
Mushroom Amanita jacksonii
Have you ever seen a very strange mushroom that you just had to get a picture of it? I spotted this one in my own garden after a heavy rainfall. It popped up overnight and was resting underneath the leaves of a Hosta the next morning. 
Giant Mushroom
This giant mushroom was in a wooded section of a client’s yard. As I was working, I spotted it and found it be be so interesting, so of course I took a picture!
Mother and Child Morning Dove
This is a wonderful story. We were on vacation, and whenever we go somewhere, I take a stroll with camera in hand to capture some sights. As I was strolling the pathway along the beach, this morning dove with her baby were seated on a nearby rock. While the birds would have flown off in fear at home, mother and child remained calm and allowed me to take their picture. I am so glad I was able to capture the moment and it makes me smile every time I look at this photograph.
Long Island Box Turtle
I run across a lot of wildlife on my job. While working with the crew at a client’s house some years back, one of the crew members spotted this turtle and knew I am an animal lover! I got a quick photo, then we made sure he was safe and sound back by his pile of logs.
Welcoming Committee
This photo is one you have probably run across within my posts. It is the garden statue that my husband had spotted while shopping two winters ago and knew that I had to have it. He said it reminded him of the two of us side by side, enjoying the view over a cup of tea. He brought the statue home to surprise me. The statue and the memory have been a special addition to the garden ever since.
My Inspiration!
Lastly, is a flower which had the power to inspire my newest and fourth book, Gardening by Month. The very special bloom captured in January lead to another photograph, which became the cover of the book, and reminds me that the garden can have something to look forward to every month of the year! A picture really is worth a thousand words!

I hope you enjoyed your visit to This Month in the Garden for the month of March, and I always look forward to hearing from you. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. and 15th. of each month as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Our World TuesdayTravel Tuesday, Pictorial TuesdayMy Corner of the World, Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Garden Affair at Jaipur Garden.)
~As Always...Happy Gardening! ~

Author: Lee @A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2021. All rights reserved.

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