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Help with garden ground cover

I am a first time poster and in much need of some inspiration for my garden border. As you will see from the picture it is quite sparse so I am looking for tips/suggestions on the best plants for ground cover along the garden path border, ideally ones that would be evergreen/provide flowering all year round and that would go well with my hydrangea, rhododendron and 2 x Salix flamingo trees? The area is approx 6m in length
My garden is north facing so pretty much no sun at this time of year however in summer the middle to top part of the border is in the sun all day. I am really struggling and hate how sparse it looks (excuse the dead bedding plants which will be coming out now the rain has stopped for a few days!)


  • tui34tui34 Posts: 3,298
    Hi - try looking at Campanula - it is evergreen and produces little bell-shaped purple flowers.  Campanula  Portenshlagiana is pretty.  Good luck.
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839
    Pachysandra is the easiest evergreen ground cover for partial shade as long as the soil doesn't dry out.   White flowers and there is a variegated form available too -

    Hebe pinguifolia will grow a little taller and spread quite well - and you can use the gaps between the plants to hide spring bulbs for extra interest.

    Bergenia/elephant's ears - - will give you larger leaves for contrast, pretty flowers in early spring and some of them have foliage which reddens for winter.

    You could also just buy several small pots of variegated ivy and peg out the trailing stems across the bare soil so they root and have some spring bulbs and mayb autumn crocus too to extend the season of interest.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    edited November 2020
    Where's the hydrangea and rhododendron? Are they in there too?
    Pachysandra- yes, Heucheras too. The prostrate Gaultheria is fine in shade. Saxifraga urbium [London Pride] and native Primulas. they flower on and off all year round here.

    Nothing flowers reliably all year round though.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I think Ajuga makes a nice ground cover plant. Here is a link to a clip of some in my own garden. There are a few versions available and I have found the purple leaved type particularly nice to add some interesting colour through the year. The flowers also seem to pop up at different times through the year but most are produced in spring.
    Happy gardening!
  • Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver' makes a lovely carpet of silver foliage, with the bonus of pink flowers in spring. Contrast it with bergenia, as mentioned above, and the upright, strappy foliage of Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'. Then there's Geranium macrorrhizum, with its aromatic foliage which will gently carpet under shrubs and trees and Geranium phaeum. Heuchera 'Lime Marmalade' is much happier in shade - in sun its lime foliage scorches. Heuchera 'Pewter Moon' or any other heuchera with purple foliage and silver marbling makes attractive groundcover. 

  • Another vote for at least a few heucheras in the mix.  Cyclamen work well in shade and usually have leaves and flowers at those times when many other plants are bare.  I've found the named varieties of Lesser periwinkle do well and aren't invasive in total shade here, too.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Not to everyone's taste but I find ornamental strawberries very effective on covering unplanted areas. In shade, they just flower less, but does not affect their ground cover abilities. Fragaria 'Lipstick' will do the job well. If your area is mild, it is worth trying Persicaria Capitata. Good plant with leaf interest. 

  • Pulmonaria 'Diana Clare' (silver leaf, bottom of pic) makes very effective, dense ground cover.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,556
    edited November 2020
    I would go with things like Alechemilla mollis and Geranium 'Rozanne' to soften the hard edges. Not evergreen but you can have spring bulbs to kick things off. The problem with only having evergreens is you can end up getting bored of the sight of them because they always look the same, whereas you will look forward to seasonal perennials and appreciate them more (and they are prettier). Maybe a few evergreens dotted in would give just enough winter structure... hellebores perhaps?
  • I love japanese anemone for evergreen you cover. Evergreen here in zone 7 in us. 
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