The End of Groundcovers?

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    Thomas Rainer

    Just wanted to thank everyone for all the great responses. Some really nice points made.

    It’s interesting that a lot of the responses assume that the opposite of groundcovers are a meadow. I certainly don’t think meadows are the only alternatives. I defined groundcovers in the traditional horticultural sense of the word–evergreen, spreading species employed to cover a bed. Perennials, ornamental grasses, sedges, and low woody species are some of the possible alternatives.

    The real point of the blog was not to single out specific plants, but to highlight a design philosophy that’s outdated and rather unimaginative planting design. Really, there’s nothing else on a shaded slope you can think of than an overused groundcover? Are groundcovers really the only thing that work in dry shade?

    If we look at native systems, there’s a plethora of choices for almost every possible condition, from steep slopes to dry shade. Projects that re-imagine how to use robust, native plants in both formal and naturalistic settings will continue to set the bar for cutting edge design. Projects that continue to use invasive groundcovers because “that’s the only thing I could think of to grow on that spot” will be anachronisms.

    Trace One

    don’t forget the rake-patterned exposed hard dirt – it is certainly in the arts-and-crafts handiworks tradition..
    ; )

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