Cover ground with shrubs--why not?

Blue rug juniper

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. A prior owner planted them more than 30 years ago, and they have succeeded for more than three decades.) 

Most people don’t associate the word “groundcover” with shrubs, yet shrubs can be great problem solvers. What to learn more? See the two articles below from recent editions of The Day/Zip06: 

Why we plant winterberries

Okay, winterberries give us bright colors during a gray time of year. That's reason enough.

But there's another reason. In the first week of April each year, cedar waxwings strip the plants of their long-lasting fruits. The berries are said to be too hard and sour for the birds until about early spring--when most food sources are scarce. 

So, it's a great idea to plant winterberries--but research at University of Rhode Island suggests that it's even better to also offer arrowwood viburnums, highbush blueberries, serviceberries, bayberries, elderberries, chokecherries, and native raspberries. See the study reference below. 

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