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Ground cover for herbaceous border

helenw88helenw88 Posts: 8
Hi, I have a herbaceous perennial border with some shrubs and trees. One thing I have always struggled with is finding ground cover, preferably something that will be evergreen and protect the soil over the winter. I was wondering if Vinca Minor could be used. Will this allow the herbaceous plants and bulbs to grow through or will it take over and prevent growth? Id be interested to hear other ideas for ground covers. Thanks!


  • helenw88helenw88 Posts: 8
    edited May 2020
    p.s. I'm on fairly heavy clay so hoping the ground cover may help prevent water logging some degree in the winter and the subsequent compaction and cracking when the warmer weather arrives. The border is in full sun most of the day.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,336
    Vincas are a bit too invasive in my soil - although the Minor is less so.

    My 'go to' ground cover plant is
    Geranium x Cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

    Low growing with pretty white-shell pink flowers at this time of year - it's not quite evergreen but is nearly so. Forms mats about 1 metre diameter and is easily propagated by pulling bits off the side and sticking them in a pot for a couple of weeks.

    It is generally well behaved for me but I only use it under shrubs and trees. IMO it wouldn't look right with perennials growing through it - but I don't think the Vinca would either.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • helenw88helenw88 Posts: 8
    Thank you @Topbird, this geranium looks a good option and interesting to hear your thoughts on Vinca minor. 
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,325
    I agree about vinca. The only one that behaves itself in my garden is the variegated one. The other one is a pain. I'm forever having to dig it out.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,689
    edited May 2020
    I think the Vinca would throttle everything too. The Geranium is a good call. If a bit shady, Polypodium vulgare is a nice little fern for planting in clumps, and Luzula nivea is a good evergreen grass that stays tidy and green all winter and doesn't spread like crazy. I would plant these things in clumps around where your later perennials will come up rather than expect them to grow in the same space. Small spring bulbs might be a better bet for growing where larger perennials will come up.
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • I think vinca minor could work well as a ground cover. They do stretch a bit around the place but not as strong growing as the vinca major. I got a white flowered one that is not vigorous enough to be a ground cover.

    I prefer Ajuga with the purple leaved types particularly good as they have some interesting leaf colour when the flowers are not there. It can grow fine on poor soil and is easy to propagate as it spreads by overground stems to make new plants so some can easily be separated off and moved elsewhere. Most of mine is reaching the end of its flowering now but I have found they can produce the odd flower out of season as well.
  • I have Sedum kamtschaticum growing under my perennials in my clay soil. It only grows a few inches tall, is easy to propagate, and does not spread over paving. The only thing is that it is deciduous, but there are plenty of evergreen sedums, so perhaps these would suit you.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,384
    The Vinca minor I have is not a problem in any way on my clay soil growing in heavy shade.  It has taken well over 5 years to cover an area of about 2 square metres and other plants have no difficulty growing through it as it is less than 15cm high and less than 10cm in most places.  The miniature daffodil you see there is 15cm tall.  Superb ground cover in the right place and conditions.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • helenw88helenw88 Posts: 8
    Thank you so much everyone for your advice! I'll certainly research all the above
  • UsFourUsFour Posts: 49
    Lots of different types and colours of Lamium ... some not as invasive as others. 

    The older you get, the more you realise that it is OK to live a life others don't understand.
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