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I am removing ferns and brambles from a steep, damp and shaded hillside. Proper planting will come later but first I want to have some ground cover that will help keep the weeds from re-establishing and help lock the slope.

I am in mid-Wales (United Kingdom) so summer temperatures are 15-20C (59-68F) and winters can easily hit -5C (23F)

I have considered Phacelia, which is quite a good green manure, but wasn't too sure if it would thrive.

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You don't say where you are, but I would be very tempted to keep the ferns! –  winwaed Jun 9 '11 at 11:36
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I suggest you try ivy; it will take some time to become established, but thrives in the most adverse conditions and forms excellent ground cover. I have used it beneath some mature Leylandii trees, where the soil is extremely dry and nothing else will grow, and it is still spreading..

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Don't you then have to worry about the ivy :-) –  itj Jun 13 '11 at 6:25
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Yes it is a pest for us, but I've seen some attractive ground-cover ivy on slopes in the UK. –  winwaed Jun 14 '11 at 17:28
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