By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Lush, green lawns are traditional, but many people are opting for lawn alternatives, which are often less time-consuming than regular turf. If you?re thinking about making the change, consider blue star creeper as grass alternative. Click here for more info.
Too often pathway gaps are neglected and become a home for weeds. But where some may see awkward spaces between stepping stones, I see potential. Plants between pavers can soften hard lines, adding a lush, living element to a design.
It’s relatively simple to fill the cracks between pavers with creeping plants that will stay low, won’t mind being squashed a bit, and may even be fragrant. Ground cover can triumph over weeds, too. Read on for everything you need to know:
Hello, I am new to this forum and hoping someone may be able to offer some help.
I have a lawn in my backyard that I recently had it professionally thatched to help revive it and remove moss, etc.
I have had an issue with blue star creeper in the lawn, for a few years. The thatching was done about 90 days ago and some of the BSC is coming back (not surprisingly). So far it is isolated and patchy, like groups of weeds in different areas.
I have done some research and it seems fairly tough to eradicate the BSC.
Does anyone know of any way to get rid of it, or at least keep it under control? I am not against using an herbicide. In fact, I sprayed the BSC earlier this week, but I don't know if it will help, because we have had a ton of rain, since I sprayed.
- Does anyone know of a chemical/herbicide that will kill BSC, but spare the grass?
- Another idea I had was to cut of the areas of lawn that have BSC growing and re-seed. However, I am unsure how deep the roots on BSC go. I am not against removing the soil and replanting.
I am willing to put the work into this. are there any best practices to remove BSC patches from the lawn??
Help landscaping 1.8 acres
Advice on creating a stone walkway
I have ajuga and creeping jenny all over. I step all over them while gardening, but they couldn't take heavy foot traffic. Just be careful to keep them away from your gardens because they can take over in good soil. I use them to fill in where not much will grow, in unammended soil in shade. Ajuga is easy for me to remove, but creeping jenny is a little harder because it breaks off. I still keep spreading them around because they can be so useful. Ajuga had deep roots and spreads fast so it's pretty good for erosion control where I am trying to remove the honeysuckle from a steep slope. Creeping jenny is very pretty to me and I like it under my hammock and on lightly trod paths, but away from the beds. I made the mistake of letting some hitchike to the front beds with a plant I moved and it's trying to take over now. I'm just concentrating on containment at this point. Scotch moss always just dies on me. I haven't tried in a while though. I here that blue star creeper can get invasive too. But I guess that's the nature of groundcovers, they either spread well and are pests or they don't and you can't get them to fill in. Let us know how yours work out. -Ais.
I am possibly the one person on earth who has a heckuva time growing Creeping Jenny, although it does okay in hanging baskets for me. Some of your selections might be good in a wall or rock garden, and definitely between stepping stones. I like all of your choices!
I agree with John though. Just what kind of feet are stepping/running on them makes them or breaks them. I step pretty lightly, but the dogs. remember last summer when I planted Ajuga John? One plantling left. :-) Blue star creeper is sort of okay because it's compact and tight to the ground, my mazus is off limits for walking on because of the longish flower stems that don't take weight too well, and I can even report that monkey grass if walked on enough will meet the grim reaper. I've been researching poured in place running track material. Amazing what they can do with recycled tires these days! Or then there's the old fashioned "swept garden" look of days gone by- that might be my next solution.
I have blue star creeper as a ground cover in one of my beds. One steppables pot purchased two years ago is now about 2 feet by three feet. So far, no problems with it, but I have it in extremely wet clay and it has to contend with runoff from other yards - don't know if that holds it back or not. It's very low and doesn't seem to be competing with anything else except another ground cover. It's a pretty even battle, so I have all those little blue flowers intermingled with gold. I like it.
I enjoy my stepping stones, they are bordered by nutmeg creeping thyme, caraway creeping thyme, gold oregano thyme, blue star creeper, alba thyme, elfin thyme, tuffet thyme, and chamomille. The creeping stuff butts into each other, in which case the chamomille loses. The caraway and nutmeg thymes are the fastest spreading.
That nice looking.
How long doese it look that good each year?
I agree with the other posts. Personally, I have golden creeping jenny in an isolated bed, and it is killer lining the ground under a Bloodgood Japanese maple. I have a problem with companies marketing to gardeners via the plant's characterisics, "steppable" - and in this case it's not even true. Corporate America and the marketing machine already have us going to Walmart and Chilis - I think gardeners can still ask each other, go to a book, or post on garden web to find the right plant for the right spot. What next? Dry-shadables? Blooms-blue-a-long-timables? And the price is inflated for these common plants, just because they added a gimmick-y label.
Brenda, I agree with you there. And the real problem is that novice gardeners don't realize that nurseries and retailers don't always give you the facts. It takes being burned in some cases for people to realize that there are other resources out there and that they need to use them. My biggest beef with nurseries is that they usually don't tell you when things are aggressive (or challenging). Sometimes a friendly staffer will let you know, but often not. Even at Logon's I see creeping jenny, vinca, and ajuga with no warnings of anykind. I still remember buying my hypericum calycinum there and after 3 years it was unstoppable. I have it contained, but I think that's the best I can hope for. And I don't even want to talk about that campunula. I was heartened to see a few warnings at BB and even some notes about heat, which many nurseries tend to leave out. Of course I realize it's their job to sell plants not teach gardening, but some things really should have a warning and not just a subtle hint like "good spreader". Beginners just don't see the hidden warning. Enough of my rant. -Ais.
How about - We-call-it-purple, but-it's-really-pink-coneflower-ables? There are so many characteristics about living things (I'm including pets here) that get down played in the marketing. I understand that one man's invasive may not be the same as another but there really should be some toning down on the spin.
Ais - boy do I agree with you 100% - when I worked at Franks Nursery and Crafts years ago - I did try and tell people if plants would work or not and almost always asked where they were planning on putting it. I tried to mention too if it was invasive or not. My knowledge at that time was through books and garden magazines - no HGTV then or internet but I was an avid reader and wanted to learn
Granite - the pathway is sooooooo inviting - I dream of having something like that - where did you manage to aquire all those varieties of thymes. - I have just started being successful with them by using alot of permatil and would love to do my walkways that way - very very pretty - thanks for sharing that picture. l
Basil: the walkway is in bloom for about 3-4 weeks. The lighter green thyme (gold oregano thyme) blooms after the nutmeg and caraway thymes, so the interest keeps going. The nutmeg thyme would benefit from being cut back after blooming, but usually I don't have any time to get that job done. That leaves a brownish patch there for a while, but its not too distracting.
Here's the same path from the bench looking up toward the deck, only taken a month later in the season. As you can see, the nutmeg thyme has finished blooming and I haven't had a chance to deadhead.
Lynne: I'm a plant collector. I particularly like creeping thymes. That particular walkway was planted in late May 1996, and the next week I went on vacation. No watering other than the initial watering in after planting. I took the clump of creeping thyme that I'd brought along from my previous house, and broke it up into finger length pieces. I planted these tendrils on either side of the path. By the end of the first year each of these 4-6" pieces had become a 2 to 4' patch. I interplanted with alba thyme, blue star creeper, columbine, dianthus, and gold oregano thyme the next year. The chammomile and elfin thyme are placed at the end of the path nearest the deck.
I've "hacked" the path back 3 or more times since 1996 to keep it from spreading out and taking over. I've given away tons and sent bushels of it to the compost. I also give the thyme a "haircut" around the stepping stones at least once a year (about an hour job, not too bad to sit in the partial shade and play with herbs).
|Blue Star Creeper, pretty flowers, pretty aggressive, pretty finicky about growing conditions, etc.|
- Spreads fairly quickly. Tiny plants 2-3 square inches can form an expanding patch 10-15 feet wide within 2-3 years.
- Profusion of charming light blue flowers in spring for several weeks. Bloomed starting mid-May this year and was still covered in flowers in early June. In cool summer climates, Blue Star Creeper might bloom all summer. I say that because our temperatures have been cooler than average most of this summer (highs in the mid-80s or lower many days) and Blue Star Creeper started reblooming in late July. The flowers do seem to attract some small bees, wasps and/or hoverflies.
- In spring, the foliage can make a lush green carpet.
- Tough. Survives heat, cold, drought and wet conditions (though it may not look good in the process).
|I ripped up a patch of Blue Star Creeper here a couple of weeks ago. Clearly I did not get it all, because bits and pieces are creeping back. Gonna have to try to dig it out again. Could take a few tries (at least) to eradicate Blue Star Creeper from a garden bed.|
|These roots are just a small representative sample of the web that Blue Star Creeper has woven underneath the soil. It's pretty scary stuff. My advice -- stay far, far away. I imagine I'll be fighting to get rid of this for years to come. I wouldn't mind having a small patch, but I don't think that's possible unless I wanted to grow Blue Star Creeper in a pot.|
- Not native to the U.S. The nomenclature is very confusing on Blue Star Creeper, but according to Paghat, there are actually two different species that are frequently marketed under the same common name, one from Australia and one from New Zealand.
- Doesn't block weeds all that well. Blue Star Creeper's small size may be an asset in terms of making it not-that-thuggish, but it also makes it only partially effective as a weed-blocker. So it's kind of a lose-lose situation - the Blue Star Creeper insinuates itself like a weed, but it's not actually thick or tall enough to shade out other weeds like clover. And as Paghat says, "some weeds are practically nursed by the mat of [Blue Star Creeper] foliage, and weeding will mean ripping out big patches of the . creeper."
- It just doesn't look that good much of the year. Heat and cold and drought and wetness may not kill it, but they can make it look like Hell warmed over. More specifically, in cold weather, the plant may brown and sort of disappear under the soil. In hot weather (especially in full Tennessee sun) the plant may bake to a crisp and disappear. In drought, you guessed it, Blue Star Creeper pulls a disappearing act. That's sort of a pity, because if the plant were green and mat-forming all year, at least I could consider using it as a lawn alternative (assuming that deep metal or plastic edging could control its spread. which I don't know for sure). It's so low-growing that at least it never needs mowing!
To sum up, Blue Star Creeper is aggressive, invasive (in the U.S.), offers poor weed suppression and has low aesthetic appeal for much of the year. I can't recommend Blue Star Creeper for the Southeast and I certainly would urge caution before adding it to your garden. Read some of the other negative experiences that Dave's Garden reviewers have had. Blue Star Creeper is one of the few plants that I regret planting. I'm now trying to undo that mistake and warn others from making the same error.
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