Need Help footprint plants around tall perennials

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Its winter and time to work on the garden ideas for 2013.
I am looking for ideas for filler or footprint plants to plant around taller plants to keep weeds down and camouflage the feet of same.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Geranium Nimbus. I got one this spring from Bluestone and it bobbed and wove beautifully. I also have, but have not planted long enough to tell how it works, is Nepeta Snowflake, touted to be good under roses especially. Curious to see what others recommend.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

I had heard of that nepeta.
Have you tried Lil Titch?

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(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

No, not yet. DH thinks nepeta looks like weeds, probably because of all the roadside plantings. I love it though, have lots of Walkers Low and one very large noid cultivar. I do try to vary the plantings enough so that he doesn't really notice.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Lil Titch is short and a spreader but just from the original planting.Its beautiful on a stonepath or a border,rock garden etc.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I enthusiastically recommend Nepeta Snowflake. I had a pernicious weed in my front beds, and put Snowflake there. It has worked its way around peonies and roses to form a phenomenal weed suppressing mat, and it is blooming now. It's short, and the flowers are white, and it's beautiful. It's so good I have moved it around roses, baptisia, and any place where weeds were established and removed.

I got it originally from Bluestone. It is very drought tolerant, blooms repeatedly, and it throws off seedlings that you can transplant.

I have to look into Geranium nimbus.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Nepetas are really great.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

And, odd as it sounds, parsley (yes, culinary parsley) is phenomenal. I put in some once and it spread. It's beautiful, it's perennial if it doesn't bloom (and if it does bloom, it seeds) and it spread through my beds at the old house, so I have brought it to the new. It attracts beneficials, and it's delicious! And it is easy to dig up, and easy to transplant.

And the flowers, on the small amount that does bloom, get some very cute visitors.

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Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Great idea.Might be too invasive.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I have a wonderful geranium I hesitate to name... I bought it many years ago as AT Johnson, which it certainly resembles. But it only blooms in the spring, and supposedly ATJ continues throughout the summer. It also resembles Biokovo in photos, but that one is described as white. So I'm stymied as to the true ID. But it completely supresses weeds, and makes a lovely dense groundcover under trees and shrubs. Flowers are a soft pale pink, foliage stays fresh all season and gets a reddish tinge in the fall. I've moved it a couple of times on this property, and it seems to leave a few babies, whether from seed or roots I don't know. I originally bought this plant from Spring Hill in the early 80's for a Southampton garden and have kept moving and sharing bits of it with friends ever since. It has never appeared anywhere in anyone's garden except where it had been planted and growing. I brought one large plant to CT about 3 years ago from my late mothers garden, and after moving and dividing every year I have enough to cover a ledge and underplant Hydrangeas.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Parsley isn't invasive at all. You don't want it, or want to eat it, you pull it up. Comes right out.

Compared to nepetas they are pussycats. Some nepetas spread all over my yard. But I liked them, transplanted them, and sometimes just pulled them out. Parsley is much easier to control. If you don't want parsley, you probably don't really want nepetas.

Blue Ridge Mtns, VA(Zone 7a)

One of my favorite fillers is Ajuga. A neighbor friend gifted the equivalent of a nursery flat four years ago this coming Spring. The plants have filled in nicely, start blooming fairly early in Spring and hardly quit until a hard frost or freeze. A plus is the leaves provide color year round. Veronicas might be good candidates as well and are available in a multitude of mix and match colors. Established ones I'm growing are Alba, Royal Candles, Red Fox, and Georgia Blue which is truly a ground hugger. Earlier in the year another Veronica added mainly for its Chartreuse leaves was Aztec Gold, another dwarf. What about low-growing Sedums like Angelina for a pop of color or other hugging Sedums that are hardy in colder climates?

Just tossing out ideas and am enjoying and learning from the suggestions you all have made.

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks FOV.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

ge...what height are you looking for? and all season bloomers? reseeders?

One idea is 2 newer geraniums, Johnsons Blue and Rozanne. Both are prolithic bloomers but Rozanne puts out more and more often, 12-18"^X24">. Easy to divide and bloom most of the season. If your looking for taller let me know might have a few more ideas....

Another is Delphinium grandiflorum, 18", can reseed if allowed, tho not a nuicense, and blooms the whole season if deadheaded...comes in a few different blues, pink and white. And yes, it's a perennial, but let it reseed for a few more plants...

Scabiosa ochulara, a yellow pincushion flower at 18-24", from spring til frost, can lightly reseed, looks best if deadheaded, I didn't get much of that done this summer so I'll have plenty of babies come

Pix 1: Dianthus x Loveliness and Geranium Rozanne
Pix 2: Delphinium grandiflora, young seedling
Pix 3: hope I got the right pix....Scabiosa o.

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Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks those are all beauties.I wspecially love the Rosanne and dianthus.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

That Dianthus comes in: white, white with green, light pink, dark pink, light lavender, dark purple, red, ( Pix 1,2 and 4). The seed is now available from Walmart, (not sure if right now, lol). I have never had them reseed in the garden and always start indoors under lights, also they are rather short lived at approx. 3-4 years

Pix 3 is Origanum Kent Bells, stays low at about 6-8"

Pix 5 is a perennial Osteospurman b., this one grows only in limited zones (think 5-6 or 7) starts in the spring and goes to frost, make a mat and is 8-14" high, light lavender and dark purple (below). Can find it at High Country Also if ya like Osteos. I grew a peach and yellow annual variety which also reseeded for a couple of years...

and what height are you looking for? lol.....

forgot to add...that Dianthus is extremly fragrant tooooo!

This message was edited Nov 4, 2012 5:40 PM

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Blue Ridge Mtns, VA(Zone 7a)

Your photos are always so pretty, Kathy, and I pick up a lot of good-to-know-detailed information from your posts.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

thanks fruity....that's kinda why I do saves time in answering later....besides you just might find your next favorite plant!!!!!! And ya just have to forgive me when they are out of focus....LOL. I still have to learn about all the new ones I got this season from ALLL the trades....

pix Papaver somniferum Lauren's Grape and Veronica spicata Sight Seeing Blue in the background, in the breeze...I need to get more seed of this one.

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Blue Ridge Mtns, VA(Zone 7a)

Do you think Origanum Kent Bells would be a good candidate to use in hanging baskets and transplant it later in the garden? It's expensive transplanting store-bought annuals and am forever looking for new ideas for baskets and containers. Would love to try anything out of the ordinary. I have one shelf left on my lighted stand that's reserved to start annual seeds later on.

Forgive us, ge1836 for hijacking your thread!

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

lol. it doesn't seem to grow very long, but is floppy bending down to the ground, might be 8-15", or there abouts. I will try to remember to look and see if it has seed....have seen 1 offspring about a foot from where it was planted....(It's at my daughter's house and will be there Tues. Hey did that umbrella plant do for you? and are you going to plant it in the ground for winter, 'spose to be hardy, I have a couple was going to try, but says it's hardies south of me....kath
Pix (just another thought) Gypsophila repens and dark pink is Caliroe, Didn't I send you some of this early in the year? And if so how did it do, did it blooom all summer as it does here. It's a reseeder for me and might hang over a basket a bit...(if it didn't, let me know next spring and I will resend...I have plenty to share....hint hint for those who might be interested...just remind me next May, June for trades!!!!)

Hint on the scabiosa if ya wanna try...

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Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

Its O K to hijack.I didnt think I would have the problem solved so soon.
I am choosing a Campanula Dickins Gold and a small heuchera.
I really wasnt looking for matting plants just something under 28 inches.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Is that the same as Oregano Kent Beauty? I loved using it in pots. It's gorgeous.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Ok, just one last one for Here's penstemon mexicali Red Rocks , it's an allllll season bloomer at 18" and lightly reseeds. Gosh and I was just starting to have Kathy

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Liberal, KS

Love it...I had that one in my gardens it think?? Looked just like it and name sounds right. Hope I can get it again come this spring... Beautiful pic of it. I really enjoy all your pics. Gets me to brainstorming..... LOL
My husband doesn't like Dave's like I do. He say's I'm always "Ooh I want that and that and that....." and everything I see as far as he's concerned and yeah he's right LOL Everything see I love and want.


(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

We all do... It isn't reeeeeeealllllly obsession....

I have a Red Rocks... It's the funniest thing, I got it before I refined my ideas about color, and the dang thing has been moved a few times, but flowers its head off and is so pretty when it does that I just have to keep it. I'll find the right spot eventually... It's worth it!

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b), tell hubby he should be glad that's your only

Pfg...have you had it reseed for you yet? I love how it reseeds about the garden and blooms and blooms and blooms. The only thing missing is fragrance..You know...maybe I should try crossing with P. palmerii which is, see pix 1 below. Wonder what I would end up with...palmerii is 4-5foot tall and blooms in late summer and Red Rocks is 18" and blooms all the season. I collected seed from both late this season, maybe there was some cross pollination from the bees.....oooops , never thought about that when I collected from both for seed swaps. Kathy

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Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

Well, I'll throw my 2 cents in, in case someone in the future is using this thread to get ideas. I have some really tall asters that don't bloom until late September or early October, and by then they are very leggy (even though I do cut them back in early summer) and have gotten a fungus on the bottom leaves. So I finally planted bearded iris in front of them and it works like a charm, they have nice silver spikey leaves all summer and you can't see the ugly aster stems. I don't have a good photo of the asters in bloom with the iris in front, all I could find was this one taken when the iris were blooming, you can just see the asters poking up behind them on either side of the grasshopper.

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Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Cindy, just love your Alchemilla molis, another great filler plant..mine is just beginning to get some girth to it. Love seeing a few full grown specimans.

Do you pinch your Aster in the spring to help it fill out, that's what I do with mums til July 4th.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Donna, I purchased 3 N. Snowflake last season--one made it. I have no idea why I lost the other two. It may have become too dry before I watered them.
I also planted Parsley amongst my Asparagus for companion planting. I could not keep the Parsley alive. However, the Asparagus bed is located in an area that I cannot water properly.

Do you plant the flat leaf parsley or the curly leaf parsley? Is there a difference as to ease of growing?

The N. Little Titch is sooo cute.

I have cut off a short branch of Dianthus and stuck it in the ground, watered it a couple of times and it grows.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

My parsley was "crispum". It's curly. I used both Nichols and Swallowtail "Forest Green Parsley" over the years. According to Swallowtail crispum is the best curled pasley. Both were successful. After trying a variety of germination methods I found using small peat pots was the best, since it does not like root disturbance. Soak the seeds and put them 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. They need darkness to germinate. Then place them pot and all in the garden. Interestingly enough, this was the only plant I handled this way.

Once you put it in it is essentially permanent. It gently spreads, but can be easily removed. In fact, that is how I etablished my new clumps at my new house. I took a trowel and dug deeply to dig up plants, and they all survived - at least ten. It's not taprooted the way platycodons are, with taproots to China.

My Snowflake was subject to terrible neglect after it was established. I had it around baptisia australis, which I never watered after it was established. But I did keep the snowflake watered until it was. The great part is that your remaining plant will spread.

My parsley was near roses, and my roses get watered.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the info on germinating Parsley. I bought this as a plant-and if they don't like to be moved, maybe that is why it didn't make it. I will germinate some seed this year. Parsley is suppose to compliment the general health of Asparagus and attracts beneficial insects.

The N. Snowflake was under Chrysler Imperial, and it got watered. However, I "think" the water wasn't getting far enough to reach the Nepeta at first. I sure hope it spreads. It is a beautiful plant: such dainty white flowers topping lovely grey green foliage that really complements the white flowers with nice habit/form.

Does anyone know if it can be propagated by cuttings? I am assuming the plant will not be big enough to "divide"? Can you tell I am anxious to have more of this pretty, little plant? :-)

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

My nepeta snow was planted on one side of a bed and it spread throughout the bed. This suggests to me that propagation by cutting would work well.

Pic one is April of this year. See the peony foliage?

Here it is in July! Three months later. Same peony. Incredible spread, and it is all from one plant. If you lift it up, you will find that it is one clump.

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

"If you lift it up, you will find it is one plant"
Does that mean it is all this foliage growing prostrate from one "stem" or has it put down rootlets?

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Oh boy. I stuck one in this fall near a hydrangea, and it looks so lost... Pic 1.

Pic 2 is last summer. I'd like the Nepeta and the Artemesia to spill over the Cerastium, lower left in the pic, adding more white and silver. It gets sun from the east and south.

Pic 3 is from below, the hydrangea is near the top in front of the big rhodie. It didn't bloom this year, it got moved last fall and lost some roots but grew well. Hopefully it will have recovered by next summer.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

That particular one is One BIG clump from a single plant that then spread its footprint everywhere. No rootlets at first. You can lift this clump right up. What it does is self seed once it is a little more mature. I got most of my other plants from small clumplets of self sown seeds.

Like this one, in October.

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(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Great! It sounds perfect for me. In that 'falling down wall' there are quite a lot of volunteers from the decades of benign neglect before DH bought the property, and then again after he lost momentum before I came along. I love that feeling, and hope to perpetuate it while still eliminating undesirables. Snowflake would be a wonderful addition to the mix.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Okay, thanks. I am looking forward to this little plant putting out more plants! I have looked for seed to buy, but I could not find any, hence, I purchased the three from Bluestone.

I think I could use this plant in a number of places.

Another plant I am considering is Yarrow Ptarmica 'Ballerina'. I have looked for seed for this plant also, but could not find it available.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Beth, maybe we could trade in the spring. I'm very impressed with the 3 plants I bought last summer from Bluestone. They grew and expanded very well for me. I could give you a piece or two by the 'm sure.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

My gosh, Donna, that got to be a large plant.

I was noticing, Pfg, how nice the sedum looks in your beds, even before it turns pink.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Thanks Polly. I've been working on this section for a long time. Some pockets have lots of soil, some have less. The sedum seems to thrive there, and ties in the greener plants with the white/blue/silver effect I'm trying for. This year was the most successful, but I'm looking forward to when the lavender fills in more. More white patches from the nepeta would be nice, too.

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