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Northwest Gardening: Groundcover Duos

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Need a groundcover to block out weeds? Use two instead of one for twice as much beauty.

Black stepping stones bring out the contrast of yellow creeping Jenny.

By Marianne Binetti

My favorite groundcovers look better and work better when grown as power couples. Weeds don’t stand a chance in my beds because I’ve got some passionate groundcovers intertwined so tightly that nothing would dare sneak in between the embrace.

I admit that sometimes my beautiful plant marriages get carried away—and I end up pulling out overly enthusiastic groundcovers every three or four years. But I figure that’s a fair trade-off to get my bare ground carpeted with flowers and foliage instead of overtaken by weeds.

Here are three of my favorite low-growing power couples:

Saxifrage lends a pathway an informal look.

Golden creeping Jenny and blue ajuga: Jenny dominates this relationship, but the carpet bugle or ajuga stands tall, dark, and handsome in this partly sunny pathway. Garden gossip says Jenny is a bit of a tramp, hopping into nearby beds when given too much to drink. I placed black metal stepping stones right on top of the creeping Jenny to create a colorful walk down the yellow foliage road.

Purple vinca blooms contrast well with yellow sedum.

Saxifrage and Lamium: I use these two under rhododendrons and in the most shaded of my woodland paths. The round form of ‘London Pride’ saxifrage makes a nice edging along a path and looks a bit more formal than the spreading habit of ‘Beacon Silver’ lamium.

Gray sedums surround blue leaf art.

Vinca minor and golden ‘Angelina’ sedum: This duo spills down a sunny hillside, but overhead trees shade it from the afternoon sun. The sedum can handle full sun, but vinca does best with some shade. I love the contrast of the deep-violet blooms against the bright-gold sedum.

Speaking of sedums, I also use any and all low-growing sedums as weed blocks. This gray sedum ‘Cape Blanco’ acts as a silver frame for some blue garden art.

So tell me—who are the power couples in your garden?

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