Groundcovers

Using ground covering plants is a great way to help with weed control, to keep soil cool and moist in the summer, less cold in winter and protect from erosion.  They are sometimes referred to as ‘living mulch’ and like other forms of mulch can considerably cut down on water use.

Creeping Boobialla, Myoporum parvifolium, is excellent for a clay soil. With its glossy green leaves and pink or white flowers it is also very pretty.  It is extremely hardy and can cover quite a large area putting down roots as it goes.

Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’ and Grevillea x Gaudichaudi are two of quite a number of prostrate Grevilleas useful where you have a large area to cover.  A plant 3 x 3 metres is not unheard of.  With their large red toothbrush flowers they are always admired.

Grevillea juniperina has many prostrate forms Grevillea juniperina  ‘Carpet Queen’ has wonderful apricot flowers, while Grevillea juniperina ‘Molonglo’ has yellow. There is even a form with bright red flowers.  All these plants look roughly the same, differing in the colours of their flowers.  They cover an area of about 1.5m2.

Hemiandra pungens is stunning in Summer and Autumn with its mauve flower with pink spotted throat standing above the lime green foliage.  This is worth a try in a raised bed to give extra drainage.

Yellow Buttons, Chrysocephalum apiculatum, of varying heights, give a lovely display with bunches of yellow to orange small paper daisies most of the year.  Some varieties may sucker through the garden. Pale everlasting,  Helichrysum rutidolepis, a grassland plant of the Monaro,  has paler yellow paper daisy flowers.  These ground covers combine well weaving through grasses, lilies and sedges.

There are a number of Kunzeas, with their pretty small fluffy flowers that are ground covers too.  Kunzea ‘Badga Carpet’ from Badga mountain east of Cooma, is a great one, flowering best in a sunny spot, along with Kunzea ambigua (prostrate) and Kunzea pommifera which has the added bonus of being a bush tucker plant producing edible berries

Another ground cover producing edible berries is Eremophila debilis, mulla mulla.  This is a hardy ground cover for most soil types in shade or semi shade.  Each long leaf gets a white or pink fruit at their base after a pretty small flower.  It is a tasty berry, with a reasonably sized stone.

Another lovely groudcover, Eremophila glabra ‘Kalbarri Carpet’ has dramatic silver-grey leaves and tubular yellow in autumn and winter that are a favorite with the spinebills.

Gastrolobium latifolium, Gastrolobium truncatum and Gastrolobium praemorsum 'Bronze Butterfly' are hardy ground covers with pea flowers.  They can be a little slow to start but once away they form an attractive mat.  They are good for the soil fixing nitrogen.

Many of the plants mentioned will be available at the Australian Native Plants Society sale being held at the Australian National Botanic Gardens on Saturday the 21st of October.


© Anthony O'Halloran 2017