Another use for ground cover?
Yesterday I posted this image, asking for a plant ID. It was identified as Liriope, must likely Liriope muscari, more commonly known as monkey grass. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't know that, especially when I used to have monkey grass when I lived at a different house. To be fair, though, it wasn't variegated and didn't bloom. I hated the stuff but, because the house was a rental where I wasn't allowed to remove any of the landscaping, I had to put up with it. In the past I've always seen the use of ground cover as a particularly uninspired practice. Surely a gardener could come up with something more creative. Add to this the fact that most ground covers, in my experience, are nearly impossible to get rid of. Who hasn't waged war against an ugly or overgrown ground cover someone else, in their infinite wisdom, planted? Then yesterday I got to thinking about that Liriope I photographed at my employer's home. Usually you see monkey grass planted along the edging of a garden. It's used partially as a border plant and partially as a weed/grass barrier. These, though, weren't all along the edge of the garden. They were planted more as a grouping of plants, transitioning from one section of garden to another. I'm wishing now that I'd photographed a larger section of the garden so that I could better explain how it was done. This eventually led to another thought. I remembered one of my mom's gardening philosophies. She hates bare spots in her flower garden. Her motto is, "Fill it up. There's fewer weeds to pull that way." How many times have flower gardeners filled in a bare spot with annuals until we can decide exactly what we want in that spot? If ground cover in general is mainly used to fill in a difficult area so that weeds don't grow there, wouldn't those annuals in a bare spot also be considered a ground cover, albeit a temporary one? So now I'm reconsidering my view of certain ground covers. Where in the past I've skipped over the ground cover section of the garden center, I'm now thinking of taking another look. If annuals can be used as a temporary ground cover, I'm now thinking that some certain ground covers could possibly be used as just ordinary plants. If you treat a Liriope as you would a daylily or hosta, it could be very pleasing to pick up a few and either plant as a grouping or scatter about the garden. They could be divided every few years or when they start to outgrow their area. I'm really curious about other gardener's thoughts on ground covers. Do you use them now? Have you used them in the past? For their traditional use or simply as an ordinary plant? Love them? Hate them? Had to use explosives to rout them from an area you wanted for another purpose? I'd really like to know.