Readers, this post is a nakedly self-serving attempt to get free garden design advice. To wit: what are good plants along high-traffic and high-visibility borders?
Above, to line the border at my co-op’s business office, I first used Liriope spicata, even knowing it would soon march like Sherman across all the other perennials and maybe threaten the shrubs, too. The non-thuggish L. muscari would have been better, but the spicata is what I had plenty of for free.
This year I found better uses for the Liriope and replaced it with two types of Sedum, both plants I have plenty of.
Above is S. sarmentosum, which will fill in, I’m guessing, within a year.
The other Sedum I’m trying is S. takesimense, my favorite groundcover for sun. The photo above was taken in my garden, where it’s completely filled in and keeps out weeds like a champ. It’s a bit taller, at 5-6 inches.
I’ve found that groundcover sedums neither bully neighboring plants nor flop over where they don’t belong.
But are they tough enough to recover from the occasional careless pedestrian? (As a city head of horticulture once told me, if plants CAN be stepped on or driven over, they will be. He uses a lot of boulders.)
And stepping back, do places like this even need groundcovers, or are generous amounts of mulch the answer? Whatever – it has to look good enough all year and be easy to maintain.
A much bigger groundcover question the co-op is asking is what to plant along our sidewalks. The rules (correctly) require that plants be kept off the sidewalks but also (correctly) require that soil in our yards be covered.
My first thought is Liriope, seen above near my house. While it flops over a bit, I’ll come to its defense because it stops run-off and erosion, feels fine against the ankles of passersby (unlike the juniper behind it) and flops over no more than 3-4 inches.
As opposed to the unfortunate hostas and daylilies on the right, which only cover the ground part-year and are too tall for along sidewalks.
Readers, any suggestions? I’m still learning as a landscaper for public spaces, with their special challenges. (As I write this, nothing has been destroyed YET by pedestrians but I’m steeling myself for the worst.)