Clueless in Calgary, Request Recommendation for Ground Cover

Discussion in 'Groundcovers' started by kannej, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. kannej

    kannej Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Hi, I am located in Calgary and I am looking to "spruce up" (haha) the shaded area under the balconies at my apt building with some attractive ground cover. If someone could recommend some idea it would be greatly appreciated.

    Ideal requirements are:
    1-low growing (no higher than 5 or 6 inches max
    2-shade loving as yard is shaded by two large leaf trees at front and would be located in area under balconies.
    3-perennial preferred
    4-hardy (temp can drop to -40C in Calgary
    5-low maintenance (yellow-thumb (clueless) gardener, requires low trimming, not much watering if possible as it will be near foundation)
    6-will spread moderately quickly but will not invade lawn (no northern adapted kudzu thanks!)
    7-soil is dry and sandy/dusty (sorry don't know the ph) but it will be watered moderately
    8-inexpensive and available in Calgary
    9-all this, and of course it has to be nice looking too! (otherwise I would just collect tumbleweeds amongst barbed wire :D).

    A great deal to ask, I know, but there must be something that fits some or most of these requirements. Any ideas on choices I could pursue?

    Thank you

    kannej
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2007
  2. MamaMac

    MamaMac Active Member

    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Millet,Canada
    I would recommend Sedum acre. I don't know if it is generally sold as a shade plant, but I have it growing all over my yard in both full sun, and full shade. I'm Edmonton area, so should be hardy enough for Calgary.
     
  3. abgardeneer

    abgardeneer Active Member

    Messages:
    785
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Yes, Sedum acre is hardy in Calgary... I think it's hardy everywhere, LOL! (And I haven't found anything that grew in Edmonton that wasn't hardy here too.) Another choice would be Lysimachia nummularia - it's happy in shade (or anywhere actually) and has bright yellow flowers. It is invasive in warmer zones but poses no problem here.
    The critical thing, no matter what you plant, will be that the area actually does get watered, say weekly after the plants are established, or at least every 10 days... being under an overhang, and next to a foundation, it will no get water on its own, no matter if it rains or not... and we live in a dry climate. With watering, you can grow a vast variety of plants in that area... without watering, might as well start working on that collection of tumbleweeds, LOL!
     
  4. Padraigan

    Padraigan Active Member

    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kamloops B.C. Canada
    What about this? I don't know it's name but it's pretty, low growing and only gets a wee bit of sun in the morning. I know it doesn't get much water either and it withstands cold winter temps here in Kamloops.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. abgardeneer

    abgardeneer Active Member

    Messages:
    785
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    The plant just posted is goutweed, Aegopodium podograria - another that is hardy everywhere and grows everywhere.
    It would be a good choice (and very attractive) for a tough area, but it's very prone to spreading, including into lawns, and it gets to about 2' tall. It's best in an area confined by poured cement.
    The original poster asked for plants not over 6" and not overly invasive, hence I didn't bring up goutweed... it would otherwise be a good choice for the nongardener if planted in a confined area.
     
  6. Padraigan

    Padraigan Active Member

    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kamloops B.C. Canada
    The ' goutweed ' in the photo is fifteen years old and has never been pruned and has never grown into the lawn.
     
  7. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    629
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Without being able to offer any actual plant names, and never having grown them in a really cold climate, I will suggest some of the dwarf, earth-hugging evergreen shrubs which most plant nurseries sell -- these will grow up to a foot high, perhaps, but some may grow flatter... some of these types of evergreens should survive the Calgary climate. A local nursery would have some suggestions. A dwarf Cotoneaster [pronounced Cotton-ee-***-ter is one suggestion -- it is like a low-growing barberry bush without the prickles... The effect would be nice because the dwarf, outwardly-spreading evergreens would soften the area around the porches and discourage junk-collection, etc...
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,433
    Likes Received:
    512
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Err, no! Pronounced Co-tony-aster; 'tony' as in the name, and 'aster' as in the flower.
     
  9. abgardeneer

    abgardeneer Active Member

    Messages:
    785
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Bearberry might fit the same niche as dwarf cotoneasters, while being reliably hardy, available and tolerant of drought. One would best seek out a source of local material though (as from a local plant restoration company), not plant material that originates from warmer, non-Chinook zone areas.
     
  10. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    629
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Re Cotoneasters and Bearberry

    Here in much-milder Victoria the bearberry [or Kinnikinnick, or its botanical name Arctostaphylos uva ursi on some of the plant tags] is sold frequently in nurseries, in larger-leaved and smaller-leaved varieties I think I have noticed -- I have tried a few small plantings to experiment with it recently but have no idea how it would stand up to Calgary winters... It would be cheaper to buy than a group of woody-stemmed dwarf conifers (or low-growing evergreen shrubs), but I don't know how fast they grow nor would the dwarf evergreen shrubs grow all that fast. Sorry about mis-pronouncing "cotoneaster" -- I have always used a flat "o" in that word in Nova Scotia, my former residence...! And never heard anyone say "co-toe-nee-aster"... but then it's a word you don't hear very often! My online Webster does give it a long "o"... [I never did know how to pronounce it for the longest while, wondering if it was "cotton-easter", which it certainly isn't...]
     
  11. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    629
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Re evergreen groundcovers of the shrubby type:

    Go to this website: http://www.greenviewnurseries.ca/junipers.html

    and note the "Calgary Carpet Juniper Juniperus sabina 'Calgary Carpet'
    Very popular. Unique because it grows in layers with spreading habit. Soft green foliage.
    Height .3m Spread 1.5m"...

    3/10 of a metre is not very high, and that sounds like a good groundcover. Going to the home page at greenviewnurseries.ca/ shows a Calgary plant nursery with lots of low-growing evergreen products -- I bet they would be helpful.

    Watering it frequently and deeply, as someone else noted, after planting, and keeping that up for a bit, until thoroughly established, would be necessary --
     
  12. Padraigan

    Padraigan Active Member

    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kamloops B.C. Canada
    Re: Re Cotoneasters and Bearberry

    Quote...... Sorry about mis-pronouncing "cotoneaster" -- I have always used a flat "o" in that word in Nova Scotia, my former residence...! And never heard anyone say "co-toe-nee-aster"... but then it's a word you don't hear very often! My online Webster does give it a long "o"... [I never did know how to pronounce it for the longest while, wondering if it was "cotton-easter", which it certainly isn't...][/QUOTE]

    Gee Wiz..........we are all adults here and life is an on-going learning experience....I don't think you should be apologizing to anyone..........Have a great day everyone. Cheers for now
     
  13. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    629
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Addition to comments on Clueless in Calgary's request [if it isn't too late]:

    So the soil is "dry and dusty"... the low-growing and prostrate evergreens from the nursery I mentioned previously, in Calgary, probably won't thrive there, especially if close to a foundation [i.e. concrete leaches lime I have read, and you want a somewhat acid environment for many groundcovers to thrive -- can you put down some good soil as you plant, enriched with an acid high-nitrogen fertilizer, with lots of mulch after planting? And have someone water it regularly with a little reduction in the rent maybe for doing so?
     

Share This Page