Best Way to Use Herbs as Ground Cover

Many low-growing herbs can be effective in the ornamental garden as ground cover. Creeping thyme, for example, makes a flat green mat of foliage, and in summer offers its small mauve blooms for extra show. In a border it hugs the ground at the feet of taller plants, suppressing weeds and providing its own colour. Deadhead thyme after flowering, using shears or clippers. Remove any weed seedlings that grow through the ground cover and water it in dry spells. Since it supports light trampling underfoot, thyme can be used for a short path. More formally, it makes a witty and attractive feature if planted in a circle at the base of a sundial.

Use Herbs as Ground Cover Best Way to Use Herbs as Ground Cover

Creeping chamomile is also useful as a fragrant ground cover, to create an aromatic lawn or as a pathway plant. Remove all perennial weeds and any stones from the soil before planting. For 1 square metre (1 square yard), you will need 40 individual chamomile plants. Water the plants in well, and avoid walking on the path or lawn until they are well established and have meshed together.

Either thyme or chamomile makes a fragrant cover for a turf, seat or bench. Site the seat against an existing wall and make a back for it with trellis or wood. You can build up the seat in front of it as you would a raised bed, using smaller raised beds to form the ‘arms’ of the seat. Plant the creeping herbs in the soil within the various raised areas and, if you are using trellis for the back, plant a climber such as jasmine into the bed, for fragrance in the air and at your back.

Use Herbs as Ground Cover 1 Best Way to Use Herbs as Ground Cover

Prostrate rosemary, although slower growing than thyrne and chamomile, and tender in cold areas, is effective both as a ground cover and trailing over the edges of beds. Plant it in full sun. Corsican mint, Mentha requienii, won’t support feet but does make a good cover at a pond edge or in moist shade. Creeping mint, M. pulegium, is attractive in a shady, slightly damp area of the garden. Herbs such as salad burnet, Akhemilla mollis and sweet Cicely, though not ground-hugging, are good ground-cover plants in a large garden. As they self-seed abundantly, their spread can be prodigious.

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