Looking for a colorful moist area plant to choke out grass

Saint Albans, VT(Zone 4a)

I have an area where the "gray water" from the gray water well overflows and keeps the ground too moist to mow. I am in a farming area and the soil is rich and, in this case continually mucky. I thought about Lysimachia Aurea but; read in the evaluation posts that it does not choke out grass. I love and grow the colored Achillea but; it doesn't like to get it's feet wet on a continual basis.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am zone 4-5

Brunswick, GA

How about lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria majalis? I lived in Brattleboro VT for many years and it grew vigorously there. There's always bishops-weed, Aegopodium podagraria. Both of these are quite invasive and grow by stolons, so you'll need to barricade the rest of your yard unless you want it everywhere.

You don't say whether this is a sunny or shady spot - if it's in at least partial sun, you could try iris. Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) will spread out to a round patch. It tends to die out from the center, but you can throw some water-loving wildflower seeds in the middle when that happens.

Walk/drive/bike around your area and find a natural area that's similar to your problem spot & see what's growing there. I'm whispering here... you're not supposed to dig up native plants... but you could...

Last suggestion: dandelions. I'm serious. They've got a bad rep from the turf-lovers of the group, but they're tasty, pretty, medicinally useful and I don't think anyone would mind if you wanted to dig up a few from their lawn to get you started.

I miss Vermont (but not the winters). It must be just about sugaring season up there. Have a shot fo syrup, hot from the boil pan, for me. I understand you don't have any snow to make sugar-on-snow this year.

Cheers from Georgia.


Saint Albans, VT(Zone 4a)

Thanks for the suggestions, ADY; but, I have more dandelions than I can eat, make tea from, etc. and they don't even dare go near this spot. I don't worry about invasive, because this is a full sun spot and I mow right to the edge of it. I am wondering if Cranesbill, that has overtaken one garden and chokes out grass would do it. I just need something that likes mucky areas and full sun too.

The winter has been so strange that folks up my way, St. Albans, have been sugaring for a month. I guess they will have to get their "snow" from the ski areas' snow making machines.

Ventress, LA(Zone 8b)

If you are not picky, you could use varigated airplane plants, asparagus fern, cast iron plants. There are so many to choose from.

Let us know if it is sun or shade. I have a rain lily that will grow in moist soil or in ponds and it blooms. It is less than 12" tall. Sweet flag grass (very short), Aztec grass or varigated lirope would do as well. There is also a short (5") grass that resembles the old time monkey grass that I forgot the name of right now.

Try googling "stepables". These are plants that are low growing and you can walk on them without hurting them.

Would you like something short or tall.

I am in zone 8b so take my suggestions lightly. I get the "Louisiana Gardener" magazine and just love it. Check out your library for "Vermont Gardener" magazine. You won't be able to resist it.

Brunswick, GA

if you've got a good supply of cranesbill geranium & you've had good luck with it and like its looks, there's no harm in sinking a few plants into your muck. it was always dependable for me down in brattleboro.

if dandelion won't grow in that spot & it's grey-water run-off maybe there's a chemical or pH problem. what color is the grass that's growing there now? Duh ... green ... but what color green? how does it look different from the area around it?

i still think iris would do well there. do you maybe have any friends who would let you divide a clump from their garden? i prefer to experiment with with free stock, myself.

now i'm real curious as to how this is going to work out. keep posting, and get a picture if you can.

cheers - ADY

Saint Albans, VT(Zone 4a)

Hi ADY - This area is full sun all day. The Phosphorus levels have got to be sky-high, although I haven't taken my PH meter out because I just bought it this winter. I am the only one on this farm, with three families, who uses non-phosphorus cleaning supplies. Those folks are many and I am one, so I am sure that my switch-over to Bio-Kleen products hasn't reduced the levels in the gray water. The grass is standard farm Hay Grass (Broom Grass), I think it is called. It has little catkin type tops and often called fox tail. The stems are thick, sturdy and can readily use up a couple of spools of cutting string on my son's industrial type weed whacker. It took him 3 hours to knock it down with a "slap-bar" type scythe last year and it just stimulated the stuff. My problem now, is the Bull Thistle that has gotten in there and, of course, grows on the outer edge so I have to dig that out before I mow (ouch). The walk-on me types might be happy because you can't walk on anything in that spot without sinking to your shins. I think I will try the Cranesbill and see what happens. It seems that what started as a 4" pot has now become a "wherever a seed lands" huge plant that couldn't be covered with a bushel basket. Yes, I will take pictures; of the area. It is not large but; sure detracts from the lawn.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Creeping jenny choked out our grass

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