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Problem-Solving Ground Covers

Fine Gardening - Issue 189

In almost every garden there are spaces that cry out for a simple palette of plants to create a soothing scene. Perhaps it’s on the edge of the driveway, at the top of a rock wall, on a steep slope, or in deep shade where high-maintenance borders or turf are not practical. These are the spots where problem-solving ground covers can provide functional beauty without a lot of fuss. Whether you need a ground cover to anchor trees and shrubs, hold soil in place, suppress weeds, or replace an expanse of lawn or bark mulch, there are plenty of plants that will fit the bill.

Although almost any spreading or mounding plant can be massed to cover ground, those that naturally spread by runners, rhizomes, or elongated branches are most commonly used for this purpose. Some advance neatly at a refined pace and are well suited to small spaces.…

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