I’ve already covered the ultimate failure of clover as a groundcover in my garden, and now it’s time to dish the dirt on two more plants I’ve tried as lawn replacements and recently ripped out. Yes, I’m ready to name names.
All five of the types of thymes that I received as samples from Stepables ultimately failed in my garden. Maybe because they don’t like our humidity, or I didn’t give them the right type of soil – I don’t know, but for their crimes of wimpy performance or outright death, they’ve been banished from my garden. But can you blame me? Look at this photo of thyme death, the type that slowly spreads until – well, I actually couldn’t stand waiting any longer, so it’s a goner.
Another sample from Stepables is Potentilla or creeping cinquefoil, and look how pretty it used to be, mixing nicely with Creeping Jenny in my front yard. Well, I’ve learned the hard way that these groundcovers can suddenly go bad, as evidenced by the photo on the right. Bad as in dead, for no known reason, but not before it killed off most of the Creeping Jenny. So, back to square one, with bare earth to cover.
Lawn replacement mistakes can be HUGE MISTAKES! Removing large quantities of failed groundcovers and starting over – that’s a big headache for any gardener. Or to be more precise, a big backache.
And while books and articles often recommend selecting several groundcovers that get along well together, finding ones that don’t devour their neighbors is much harder than those authors let on. So I’m experimenting and reporting my results, but who can know for sure that the plants I’m trying will perform the same way in their garden?
I’ve gotta admit, the more I explore alternatives to lawn, the more I appreciate why turfgrass is so damn popular. It’s cheap, relatively easy to grow, and caring for it does NOT require gardening knowledge or bending over.