Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Easy groundcovers for sun and shade


After a year sitting of sitting in the gravel on the terrace floor, gathering strength to bloom in its second year, the Corydalis lutea has opened for business. It is the longest blooming perennial I know, starting at least a month before the two others I grow (calamintha and agastache). And I am going to be picking the flowers. It self seeds like crazy, and preventing it from setting seed is easier than weeding.

While far taller than a groundcover would ordinarily be, this plant needs minimal soil depth and will grow in cracks in walls, if you let it. All it needs is very good drainage, and it copes equally well with full sun and semi shade.


On the other side of the sliding door are the year-in, year-out, can't-kill-them mint and creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia "Aurea").

By midsummer I can't pick the knee-high mint fast enough for chutneys, fresh herb sauces and mojitos, but for now I'm letting it grow.

Creeping Jenny is technically edible, but having nibbled it I'm not sure I see the point. Maybe the tips in salads, every now and then - but there is no flavour. I love its colour. The cat loves it as a soft carpet to sleep on, in the shade. The mint can be very aggressive, but contained on terrace floor it has nowhere else to go. I like the idea of planting it between paving stones as crushing it is unavoidable, and it smells wonderful.

8 comments:

  1. Corydalis is a gem. I have it everywhere, the white variety. I think it's perfect, even the lacy foliage is spot on. However, I am here to admit to lutea type envy. I need some of that yellow around:) may it self seed everywhere.

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    1. Ooh, white. I'd like some white!

      The blue is just stunning but summer-dormant...

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  2. Oh, you're giving me ideas! I have tried growing a few things between my pavers in my veg garden, and the Florida sun just beats everything down. But the mint...now there's an idea. I'll have to give it a whirl!

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    1. Becky - there are also mat-forming, creeping varieties of mint, that will not grow tall...

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  3. I had read that the young tips of creeping jenny taste like pea shoots but not to my palate! I agree with you, nothing to recommend.

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  4. This looks beautiful, the colour is amazing, summer is the best time to grow these. Happy gardening!

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  5. Wow, I am very happy to have found your blog here, to see, how far and beautiful plants are in New York! Well, I think you are lucky to have such beautiful colors and green leaves already, I AM YALOUS. My balcony here in Berlin, Germany, is still very much under the influence of pots, not so much of plants, though it starts out. But slowly, very slowly! Yours, Giorgio.

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    1. Giorgio - don't worry, right now our terrace is also very "únder the influence of pots.'' The fava beans have not even emerged, yet :-) This post was written in May 2013.

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