One of the things I like about gardening is its physical requirements.  I am not enjoying this week of chores so much however.  I am ripping out a border adjacent to our field, one that I planned to be a drought and deer tolerant “no weed’s land”  between the field and the inner border.  I planted it shortly after we moved to Whidbey, using some tough groundcovers that I’d relied on when I lived and worked in the suburbs, such as Rubus pentalobus / Taiwan bramble,  Ceanothus gloriosus ‘Pt. Reyes’ / Point Reyes Creeper, Cistus salviifolius ‘Prostratus’ / Sageleaf Rockrose and Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’ / Dwarf Japanese Juniper.  Of these, the only one that performed well enough to stay is the juniper, which looks good without water, is impervious to weeds, deer and rabbits.

The problem isn’t with these perfectly good plants – it’s with the placement next to a field and I’m guessing the same would happen adjacent to a wooded area where you not only get weeds creeping in (as in town) but blowing in constantly.   With most ground-hugging groundcovers, there’s  just enough tiny spaces for the weed seeds to sprout, but since the plants root along as they spread, you can’t lift branches to pull out the weeds.  Perhaps it’s also true, that with a bigger garden, I’m going to need some plants that can duke it out on their own for a longer period of time.   Plants that have worked to halt the weeds are taller – at least a foot  and allow me to pull up the “skirt” and weed underneath, if need be.  Prostanthera cuneata / Alpine Mint Bush and surprisingly enough, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low / Catmint, a perennial are doing a great job.  Miscanthus sinensis ‘Little Kitten’ / Maiden Grass has been fiercely territorial.  So after I finally get done taking out my hard-earned lessons, it’s back to the nursery.   Along with more Prostanthera and Nepeta, I’m going to try Berberis, shrubby Cotoneaster, shrubby Potentilla, Caryopteris and some smaller mugo pines.  I’ll keep you posted.




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