Monday, May 18, 2009

Matrix planting: groundcover

Lots of rain and relatively warm temperatures are giving us a lush spring. Here is a groundcover matrix of Equisetum arvense, Ajuga, and Lysimachia nummularia making a pretty grouping. The Equisetum will vanish within a few weeks, the Ajuga foliage will likely be hidden under the Lysimachia. I wonder what this will look like in July?

This is a thick but delicate carpet, easily crushed by footsteps. Larger perennials have no trouble emerging and growing to comparatively towering heights, so there may be a general decline once the shade of the larger plants becomes a competitive factor.


  1. I'm one of those who find it difficult to distinguish between equisetum and hippuris. Would you be able to sort me out?

    Esther Montgomery

  2. I don't know hippuris, but I looked it up and it does resemble Equisetum arvense. This equisetum grows on moist ground but not in water. It is six to ten or twelve inches tall. It grows in a thick carpet that covers the ground, making a soft-looking carpet. It's quite pretty as a groundcover. Very invasive too, but in my garden it doesn't appear to weaken other plants sufficiently to harm them; they grow through and above it with ease. But this equisetum is not soft to the touch. The plant has a high silica content, making it feel rather bristley. I understand it was used in the old days (before Brillo) to scrub pots and pans. It will completely die down and disappear in a few weeks. It appears from my brief lookup that hippuris grows in water. Perhaps it's an aquatic plant?



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