I need to figure out how to make sure the ground is fully covered in the Driveway Border. This is a border with a lot of tall prairie plants, and while they abundantly fill the upper stories, as it were, of the border, there is still some open ground, especially at certain times of year.
There are some medium-height plants, but what I need is more ground-level filler plants, less than 1′ tall plants. A factor that makes this more complicated is that while this border is in almost-full sun, these shorter plants must be able to tolerate the shade thrown by all their tall neighbors.
I have some Daylilies and Nepeta, mainly along the west edge, and Celandine Poppy and (Stylophorum diphyllum) and Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) along the shadier east edge. But there is a need for more in the interior.
Here’s the thing. There’s also a shit ton (can I say that on a family blog?) of self-sown violets, not to mention all the self-sown Celandine Poppies. And I’ve been thinking: why not just let the Celandine Poppies and Violets go crazy and fill in every vacant niche in this border? Instead of struggling vainly to control these rampant spreaders, and trying to introduce some new plant or plants to play that role.
Arguments for this approach: it would be cheap and easy. Plus these are native plants, after all. Violets also are butterfly host plants.
Possible arguments against:
- The Celandine Poppy gets raggedy in summer.
- Most of the neighbors think that Violets are weeds, though I myself (mostly) don’t feel that way. Up until now I have welcomed Violets in the lawn and as a ground cover in the Back Garden, but have tried to control it in the sunny beds.
- Violets would look out of place with tall prairie plants. Shouldn’t the filler be something more grassy, like a Sedge? On the other hand, many of the prairie plants will also grow in savannas and woodland edges. Plus, the Illinois Wildflowers website says that Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) grows in black soil prairies.
This question is causing a serious case of Garden Fretting. Should I cover the ground by letting these two plants run wild or should I put in something new? And if so, what?