This is the second post from my “Evolving Garden” series

Removing non-native ground cover

As mentioned in my first post, I have two invasive, non-native ground cover to remove from my garden that need to be removed.

Sweet Woodruff
I planted Sweet Woodruff without understanding its invasive nature in my “woodland” garden area. There is a pine, dogwood, red maple and red mulberry all contributing to the deep shade here. The soil is moist and acidic. The sweet woodruff is absolutely beautiful in the spring – with a carpet of white flowers and a vibrant green. This is an edible herbaceous ground cover that spreads quickly. I guess I wont miss it that much since it becomes scraggly (yes, that is a technical gardening term) towards the end of the summer and in to the fall.

Non-Native: Vinca
Vinca is a very pretty evergreen ground cover with petite purple flowers. This came with the house when I bought it back in 1998 – and it continues to grow and show up in other places around my yard, sometimes strangling my new plantings.

The good news is that there is no english ivy around my house – as this is an invasive that must be removed (if you have it) as well. Each of the alternatives below are suitable and beautiful replacements.

Beautiful Native Ground Cover

Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera): This lovely semi-evergreen mats together to make a spectacular display of blue/violet flowers in early spring and stays low and green throughout the rest of the year.

Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera)
Photo: Mt.Cuba Center

Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum): This plant hugs the ground and is evergreen in Virginia. It creates a lovely carpet of yellow in the spring.

Chrysogonum virginianum
Photo: Clemson Cooperative Extension

Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens)

Partridge Berry is a sweet trailing plant with shiny rounded evergreen leaves with a distinctive stripe down the mid-vein.  The paired snow-white tubular flowers have four fringed petals that form half-inch stars in summer. This is a great choice for supporting pollinators and has historic significance.

Mitchella ripens
Photo: Virginia Native Plant Society

Native Ground Cover in Virginia: Resources