This is Part Six of “Margot’s Get-Real Guide to Gardening in North West Florida.”
I have previously described Stories or Levels in the vertical spaces of your garden.
In this entry, I will describe Story or Level One: Perennial Evergreen Ground-covers.
The term “groundcover” applies to those plants that spread, clump, and creep, to form a dense covering over the ground, thereby crowding out weeds and preventing erosion.
Here are my favorite tall perennial evergreen ground-covers: These plants are bulletproof, evergreen, blooming, and require no cutting [except for one].
These plants will help to form the “backbone” of your garden: On a winter day, you will see lots of green in your garden!
More to come, in this series: “The Big Picture of Garden Design.”
These three evergreen perennial ground-covers look fabulous together but you must plant them in shade.
Note: Be very sure about the sun exposure, before you plant these. The deeper the shade, the better they will look.
Cyrtomium falcatum [Holly Fern]:
~part shade to full shade
~looks great under a tree, in a mass
~soil: does not require–yet likes–good soil
~do not plant too deeply
Aspidistra elatior [Cast Iron Plant]:
~part-shade to full shade: no bright, hot sun
~soil: not required, but for best results: amend the soil and fertilize regularly
Liriope muscari: dark green “Evergreen Giant”
~part shade to full shade
~blooms once a year – not distinctive
~liriope [green] and [variegated] look great next to each other
Note: I have planted all of these in dappled sunlight. They bloom quite well and the leaves do not appear stressed.
Rudbeckia nitida ‘herbstonne’ [“Autumn Sun”]
~grows to 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide
~profuse gold flowers in summer
~bluish-green leaves are very attractive
~trim this one, to control growth
~full sun to part shade
~blooms: yellow, summer to fall
~grows 4-6’ tall
~plant 2-3’ off-center
Dietes [African iris]
~not an iris — but looks like one!
~requires moderate moisture
~grows 2-4′ tall and 2′ wide
~plant 1 foot off-center
~full sun or part shade
Iris Virginica ‘Blue Flag’
~likes acid, sandy soil
~requires high moisture: I planted mine near a “fogger” or “mister” [to attract birds]
~grows 2-4′ tall
~plant 1-3′ off-center
~light: full sun or light shade
Agapanthus [Lily of the Nile]
~moisture: requires little water but can tolerate too much water, also~grows 4′ tall and 1′ wide
~large bloom on one slender stalk
~blooms: colors from which to choose: white, lilac, indigo blue/purple
~blooms: distinctive blooms, on tall stems, various colors, once a year
~requires full sun to part shade
~easy to divide
~roots like to be crowded, in order to bloom
~choose the best variety for your area
~grows to 4 feet high; plant 1 feet off-center