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Ground cover plants with new hedge

I've inherited a huge hedge with my new house. I'm trying to rejuvenate it. It gets a good haircut once a year but it's full of ivy and the stems of the ivy are as thick as my arm. I'm tackling it in sections as its so long and I'm now approaching year 3. I'm finding that some of the hedge is completely dead apart from the ivy.
Where I've removed the ivy and planted whips, I seem to have provided a fantastic opportunity for the weeds as previously, they couldn't get a look in because of the ivy blocking out the light and sun. Unfortunately, I've created more problems and work than were there before and MUST STOP this as I go into year 3! 
I'm trying out different solutions and want to try ground cover plants among the whips until they are more established. Its a rural setting and I thought about primroses as there are already some in situ in some places although but I don't think they'll be robust enough. Any suggestions?
A friend mentioned planting more ivy and keeping it on the ground this time. Vinca minor perhaps or something I can grow over winter to plant out in spring? An evergreen perennial perhaps, if one exists.
One other issue is that part of the banks under the hedge do have grass growing on them so they need mowing/ strimming which interferes with planting. I'll need a different solution for those areas until I get round to digging up those sections.
Thank you

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  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    The problem tends to be, most ground cover plants that will survive there themselves are likely to be vigorous plants. In the end, it's what you like and whether you are ready to remove them once your shrubs have bushed out along the bottom.

    You could try Liriope Muscari/Spicata, Lily Turf. Evergreen clumps of strappy leaves, and there are variegated versions  year round and in autumn, purple or white flowers last a long time followed by small fruits. There are smaller size plants too. Spicata can be mowed down like grass, so could be an option. Bergenia Cordifolia are also useful plants that have large rounded leaves that are almost evergreen with flowers in spring into summer. Leaves can turn red in autumn for extended interest.
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