Covering Ground

November-blooming witch hazel Look around for clues to beautiful winter landscapes

People often ask about creating a landscape with four-season appeal. I tell them that our northeastern winters put our imaginations to the test--because we human beings are more attracted to beautiful colors than we are to interesting shapes and textures. These dormant months are a great time, however, to find the structure of the landscape.

Blue rug juniper Cover ground with shrubs--why not?

No lawn mower has ever touched a 2,500 square-foot section of my yard, nor will it, as long low-growing juniper shrubs continue to thrive on this hot, sunny, dry, windy embankment. These junipers are poster children for the concept of putting the right plant in a place, the perfect groundcover for the spot. (No credit to me.

Galium odoratum, Sweet Woodruff No need to tiptoe around these groundcovers

"Don't step on the garden fairies," my grandmother used to admonish. It was her way of making me walk carefully around the plants in her beautiful vegetable gardens. 

It took me a long time to get over the fear of harming garden fairies.

Bunny Blue sedge Covering Ground with Native Ornamental Grass and Sedge

Turfgrass and ornamental grass share the same last name, but they are very different plants. What's important is that ornamental grasses and their cousins, the sedges, are great problem-solvers, capable of filling niches where turfgrass is faint of heart.

Consider the differences:

Sedum ternatum Woodland stonecrop Sedum: Desert Camel of the Groundcover World

It’s hot; it’s dry. Do you know where your sedum is?

These plants are the quintessential ingredient in many green roofs, though you may know sedum as the tall autumn species that flowers along with mums and ornamental kale.

Crown vetch weed growing in a meadow. How to Manage Weeds Without Weedkillers

Got weeds? Of course we all do--and they make us nuts. I count six ways to manage weeds without bottles of chemicals. 

US Native Plant tag How native is that native plant?

Native plants went mainstream over the past five years as many people embraced the value of these plants to beneficial insects that pollinate our landscape and farms, especially to feeding specialists such as the monarch butterfly.

Tribal nations of southern New England Indigenous knowledge of native plants yields surprising new insights

Manuel Lizarralde created this bow from native trees. Perhaps you've heard the simple definition of a native plant: A plant that grew naturally on the American landscape prior to European settlement.

Low-mow lawn from Eco-Lawn seed, Wildflower Farm. Want less lawn work? Start with the seeds.

If you are a lawn owner, perhaps you’ve wondered if there’s a way reduce the commitment and still have healthy grass. According to some in the turf industry, there is—and it starts with the seeds.

Now's the time to prune all trees and shrubs, almost

Seize the day and seize the pruning saw. It's late winter and time to prune (most) trees and shrubs. The list of exclusions is pretty short, so here goes: