9

It really matters what kind of wood chips you're trying to use. The wrong sort can doom your gardening project. Wood Chips, Sawdust and Bark Chips Wood chips and sawdust from large diameter limbs, trunks and Evergreen trees kind of suck the nitrogen out of any environment they're used in. Their Carbon/Nitrogen ratio can run from 400:1 to 750:1. It has to ...


9

It looks like Chrysogonum virginianum. Here is an excerpt from a nursery site: Commonly known as Goldenstar or Green and Gold, Chrysogonum virginianum is a beautiful wildflower that is native to the eastern United States. It is one of the finest flowering ground covers for the sun or shade garden, bearing bright yellow star-shaped flowers that will ...


9

Well it looks remarkably like Pachysandra terminalis to me, an evergreen groundcover which does well in shady conditions. Tends to look a bit floppy, as per your picture, when its in sun or if its been very cold. See link below for info http://www.oakleafgardening.com/plants/pachysandra-terminalis/ and a clearer pic here, though not showing flower buds - ...


9

Even though I am no type of botanist, I can't resist a good puzzle. So I decided to look into http://www.wildflowersearch.com and came up with "creeping eryngo" or Eryngium prostratum Note those wild looking sepals. Now I do see that Christy B. has already proposed a sea holly, and others thought it couldn't be Eryngium at all because of the ...


8

I see a problem with the size of the area. No groundcover will be so thick it will choke out grass or other wind borne seeds. After a while you will be looking at weeding and with the size of the area this means wading in. Tough... White clover is an excellent idea from @woodchips. I have used it to open up and enrich thick clay soil. There are other ...


8

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) works very well for me in USDA zone 4. Tolerates a lot of traffic, small flowers, turns a reddish colour in a mild winter. It is readily available at most nursery centres and once it gets established will self seed. The downsides are that the flowers attracts bees which may not be what you want when you open your car door. ...


7

OK, just 5 minutes after starting the bounty I think I found it on another site: it seems to be Garden Arabis, Arabis caucasica.


7

This looks like Ajuga reptans or bugleweed. It has many cultivars and changes its habit depending on the environment. It is six inches tall when in flower. For the rest of the year it is just a few inches high. This plant does not taste good to deer but is considered invasive in parts of North America. If it starts getting out of hand you can pull it out ...


7

Lamium varieties would probably fit the bill - they come in various leaf colours, some striped, some spotted, some yellow or variegated, some almost white, and all flower, mostly lilac flowers but also yellow or white. The following are ones worth investigating: Lamium maculatum 'Anne Greenaway', L. 'White Nancy', L. Beacon Silver, L. maculatum 'Brocade', ...


7

Not exactly a ground cover, but perhaps Mesquite? It is a legume... New Mexico State University Guide 150 lists a number of cover crops (which may not suit the homeowner's sense of "groundcover") some of which they list as drought tolerant. Among the drought-tolerant Legumes are alfalfa (possibly not a good idea with the septic, speaking of big roots, but ...


7

Ajuga is fairly shallow rooted. You should be able to take a sharp spade and cut out 6" wide squares. Plant in the new area. Top dress where you made the cut and then stand back, way back as it spreads even more. I too have found Lamium does not deserve it's reputation as a good groundcover in Ontario. Summers are too hot and the soil gets too dry. It ...


6

Here is another option: Chrysogonum virginianum from an earlier post titled What is this native North American ground cover?


6

Vinca is a great ground cover vine that flowers, and creeps. Makes for a nice "ivy" type of look... Ground cover images More info on the plant here.


6

Liriope muscari is rather challenging to grow from seed. For one thing, the pulp contains phenolic compounds which inhibit germination, so the seeds must be cleaned well before use. Seeds also have a morphological dormancy because the embryo is not fully developed when the fruit ripens, so a period of warm stratification is required to complete maturation. ...


6

Daffodils would do great there, I'm pretty sure. I have some in my woods, and I didn't plant them there. They do fine because it's a deciduous woods, so no shade in late winter when they emerge, and barely any shade during flowering. Also, the undergrowth doesn't seem to be a problem unless it's taller than the daffodil plants, and leafs out before the ...


6

Creeping thyme - hardy to at least USDA zone 4, thins a bit in light shade, tolerates heat very well, flowers in summer and attractive to bees, maintenance limited to ripping it out when it gets too big. Never had a problem with bees but it will self seed. Not suitable for culinary use. Irish moss - hardy to at least USDA zone 4, tolerates shade, small white ...


6

A shady mix lawn could be done. It will likely need maintenance/reseeding every year. A mix of low-growing native forest edge plants could be used. This could include some of the native prairie grasses, which grow naturally in forest openings in your area, but won't be lawn-like. Moss is also an option, but in my experience it is pretty fragile and may ...


6

It's a mountain heath or heather, Phyllodoce empetriformis, a native perennial shrubby plant which has,variously, pale pink to deep pink to, occasionally, mauve-pink bell shaped flowers throughout summer. Classed as an alpine or sub alpine plant, likes acid soil conditions and prefers damp soil http://www.flora.dempstercountry.org/0.Site.Folder/Species....


6

I'm also in zone 6A (Massachusetts, USA), and have something that works perfectly for me. It is vinca, also called periwinkle. I think mine is vinca minor, but there are a number of varieties, so it might be something else in the same family. As for your criteria: It thrives well in all levels of sun. Some references say it needs mostly shade, but mine ...


6

It looks likes the beginnings of blue Hobbit stikle


6

Cornus sanguinea usually provides dense shade when its leaves are out. It also gets woody fast. As the flowers and fruit are insignificant most people only plant it for the stem colour. As the stems age they become a gray colour. If your goal is to enjoy the colour of the stems in winter this plant requires regular maintenance. Specifically, cut back one ...


6

Arctostaphylos likes infertile, well-drained/gritty soils. You've probably got the well-drained part, since you're planting on a bank. It likes full-sun, however, which may become problematic as your tree matures. I would not amend the soil at all, but I would remove the bark mulch from around the base of each plant, at least after the first year (they're ...


5

This is similar to what I did a few years ago. I needed dirt for the back of a building foundation I was constructing, so I dug up the hard clay from 10ft down and used it to level the foundation which sat on a bit of a hill. At the end, I was left with a fairly steep slope of ground on which nothing would grow except some ragweed, pokeweed, and some ...


5

Mulch helps a lot in this kind of situation. I'm thinking of ordinary pine/cedar/hemlock bark mulch. Before mulching, cut the grass as low as you can, or pull the tops off if it's too intermingled in the sedum to cut. When the grass grows through the mulch the roots are a lot shallower, and there's less of it. Because the roots are shallower, and because ...


5

You need to decide what you want the end result to look like. The choices are: retaining wall: expensive but permanent and yields usable flat area as opposed to sloped area stabilize with shrubs stabilize with grass or ground cover A quick and dirty solution would be to rake over the area to fill in the gullies. Sow grass seed and top dress. The final ...


5

That is Vinca major 'Variegata', or variegated greater periwinkle. And it is an invasive. Here's a picture to compare leaves.:


5

Answering for your location (Minnesota, zone 4a), so as to keep this answer contained. In your climate, you'll get the most biomass from a summer season cover crop. Of course that will make it hard to grow food crops, unless you stagger beds, and use more square footage than you would need for a single food crop. The winter cover crops that aren't winter ...


5

Check out a company called Pro Time Lawn Seed out of Portland, OR. They do all sorts of interesting mixes. Last year I replaced a 500sq ft parking strip up here in Seattle with the Fleur de Lawn. We let it get fairly tall (maybe 8"). It was beautiful, but did better when I kept it shorter. Mowed it to 1" for the winter (probably not the best idea) and it ...


5

Lowbush AKA "wild" blueberries. Vaccinium angustifolium Lignonberries Vaccinium vitis-idaea Otherwise, 3-6 inches of pine needles and don't worry about growing much of anything (though I find that daffodils and fringed bleeding hearts get along fine despite the blueberry-centric acid level. I guess the FBH could be seen as a ground-cover, sort-of) I had ...


5

What you have is either Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) or woodbine (Parthenocissus vitacea) judging by the shape of its leaves. Both grow as a vine but it may take a while longer to become noticeable. Both are in the same genus as Boston ivy which is not a true ivy. Woodbine https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenocissus_vitacea Virginia ...


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