Ajuga is a dense, rapidly spreading groundcover that enhances the landscape with its shiny, dark green leaves capped with whorls of tiny, blue-violet flowers in spring. It is easily grown in full sun to part shade and prefers moist soils with good drainage. Ajuga’s dense foliage will choke out weeds but the plants are not particularly tolerant of foot traffic. Several cultivars offer varied foliage color, Catlins Giant being my personal favorite. When in full flower, large clumps of bugleweed produce a striking display, especially planted among naturalizing spring bulbs, such as Snowdrops, Hyacinths or shorter varieties of Daffodils.
Bruce Phillips Jr.
Beary Landscape Management, Des Plaines, IL
(847) 768-9800 • www.bearlandscaping.com
Hardy Plumbago is a great groundcover for dry shade areas, but it can take some sun as well. The bloom is unique, with a “fire work” like shape, and provides color from late summer into fall. The progression of leaf color from bright shiny green to burgundy adds appeal and its bloom stalks can be left in place for early winter interest. Plumbago grows into a nice carpet about 10″ tall, but is not an overly aggressive spreader. I tend to use it most as a carpet underneath multi-stem specimen trees or under mature existing trees.
Terry Rudolph, PLA
Landscape Architect and Owner
Alternative Land Design, LLLP
(303) 433-4828 • www.alternativelanddesign.com