More spring carpets

So many of our favorite groundcovers have their day in the sun, so to speak, in the spring. Particularly the ones that are made for the shade. Before the trees leaf out they get the light they need to really take off. I never noticed before that Mukdenia rossii ‘Karasuba’, which is known more for its bright red and glossy fall foliage, has such pretty flowers. And I think the new foliage is handsomer now than ever.

You might never find where we hid the bergenia (hint: under the grape arbor) but it’s happier tucked away there than anywhere else we’ve tried it. I’m not sure which species this is (Ed, if you read this, please help!) but just look at that flower. Precious princess-pants. After living in Seattle where rough looking bergenia fill every streetside rockery, I never thought I’d think it was that special. But maybe this one is especially special. You get a prize if you can find it. (Finding it is the prize.)

You can’t miss the epimedium. It will fill up your view as you walk through the moongate. It’s amazing to me that such a delicate – and often expensive plant could be so prolific. It’s tough as nails and I say — we all say — the more the merrier. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want such a beauty to spread its little wings wherever it could. (It grows so happily in dry shade that it’s as if we got it wrong about such sites being difficult.)

And of course there are the daffodils, groundcover-ers themselves swimming in a sea of periwinkle (Vinca minor). And the question of every day is what is the groundcover with the mottled red leaves? It’s trout lily (Erythronium americanum), one of our native wildflowers. Not many are in bloom yet as I write this but they’re coming. (Although they did have a big show last year and deserve a break.)

Now that spring has really sprung, there is so much to see, it might be impossible to notice it all. (I’ve tried.) The daffodils will continue to be in peak probably through the weekend and now that the tulips and cherry trees have started there’s no longer any reason at all to not visit right this minute.

Do you have a favorite spring groundcover? Or is there one that you like better in spring than any other time of year?

4 thoughts on “More spring carpets

  1. Kris,
    Is it from me? Can’t really tell from the pic as It could be just B. ciliata, but I’m guessing it’s Bergenia pacumbis (=B. ciliata f. ligulata) which I’ve been pushing lately because even though it’s deciduous like ciliata, it’s an uber foliage thing – Rheum-esque, with long petioles and dinner plate sized leaves. Should make it easy to find, anyway!

    Ed, it’s definitely from you a few years back… and I think it must be just straight B. ciliata or else it’s struggling because I wouldn’t have said the leaves were dinner plate sized. Clearly we need to make another visit to your nursery soon! -kris

  2. My favorite would be masses of scilla or chionodoxa, for a sea of blue!

    Carolyn, I’m so excited that chionodoxa naturalizes – that’s a blue that brings me to my knees. -kris

  3. Well, don’t pick on me-I have carpets of white violets under my birches. I LOVE them and it’s fun to edit them while they’re blooming. It’s your only chance to dig up the purple plants. It’s always more fun to weed things that are blooming.

    Val, I would never pick on you for loving violets — I love them too! And have a very hard time editing them. But I do agree – to me, editing hardly feels like weeding when a favorite “weed” is in bloom. -kris

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