Today’s post is a Guest Post from Ken Williams and covers an important topic for all gardeners looking to create ecological gardens as well as those just feed up with buying mulch!. Enjoy- Jim
As people embrace complex perennial gardens, gardens designed to provide more and better ecosystem services, maintenance becomes an issue. We need to enjoy these gardens, not be slaves to them.
This means preventing weeds, and preventing weeds means understanding their life cycles. Most of these pests sprout and grow in the cool part of the year. Prairie plants, the plants that dominate ecologically designed gardens, are mostly warm season plants. This means that every year, the weeds get a head start on the good plants.
The problem is solved when garden designs include two types of native plants. One is cool season ground cover plants, the other is warm season plants that grow from cool season rosettes. Some examples of these are:
Cool Season Ground Covers
- Sedges — Carex sp.
- Prairie Smoke — Geum triflorum
- Pussy’s Toes — Antennaria neglecta
- Wine Cups — Callirhoe involucrata
- Golden Ragwort — Packera aurea
- Robin’s Plantain — Erigeron pulchellus
- Common Violet — Viola solaria
- Canada Ginger — Asarum canadense
Plants with Cool Season Rosettes
- Eastern Bee Balm — Monarda bradburiana
- Prairie Dropseed — Sporobolus heterolepsis
- Native Alumroot — Heuchera richardsonii
- Queen of the Prairie — Filipendula rubra
- Virginia Waterleaf — Hydrophyllum virginianum
- Native Geranium — Geranium maculatum
- Scarlet Bee Balm — Monarda didyma
- Common Yarrow — Achillea millefolium
- Foxglove beardtongue – Penstemon digitalis
Other plants that are useful in this endeavor are Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon meadia), and Spotted Bee Balm (Monarda punctata).
The solution to this issue is discussed in more depth in this video.
Enjoy the slide show, watch for other presentations by searching “kenzhort” on YouTube, and follow me on Instagram @kenzhort. Thank you!