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Monday - June 09, 2008

From: Paris, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for south-facing yard in Paris, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We are moving to Paris, Tx. Our front yard faces south with 2 large sycamores shading it. Grass has a hard time growing here. I'd like to plant groundcover. Think it's sandy loam. Do you have any suggestions?


If your yard faces south, it will have lots of sun in the winter, and the sycamore trees will probably cause some shade. We are being requested often for groundcovers, but there really are not that many native plants that make an attractive show, stay low on the ground, and tolerate both sun and shade. So, we'd like to suggest another concept, a meadow. We've been to Paris many times, a lovely old town with beautiful gardens. If there are no restrictions requiring you to have mowed grass in your front yard, please read our How-To Article on Meadow Gardening. This would permit you to gradually replace the low-performing grass, add different heights and textures, and plan for a long season of color. It's a gradual process, not requiring that you jump in and make over the whole garden at once. Because the plants are native, they will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance and be less likely to be damaged by pests and diseases. The sycamores can become anchors to your garden, with the other plants complementing them. Now, take a look at our How-To Article, Native Lawns. You will note that it suggests a meadow garden as an alternative to the manicured lawn. We are going to go to our Recommended Species section, click on East Texas, and make a selection of plants we think would work for you in your lawn or meadow. Be sure and read the description on the linked webpage for each plant, selecting according to light and soil moisture requirement, colors and time of blooms, etc. With exceptions noted, most of these are perennials. Then, go to our Suppliers section, click on East Texas, type your city and town into the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant supplers of plants and seeds, as well as landscaping professionals, in your general area. They will have websites or telephone numbers so you can contact them for availability or more plant ideas.

Packera aurea (golden ragwort)

Dichondra argentea (silver ponysfoot) - annual

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - evergreen

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Ipomopsis rubra (standing-cypress) - biennial

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm) - winter annual

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Ilex decidua (possumhaw)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Packera aurea

Dichondra argentea

Calyptocarpus vialis

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Ipomopsis rubra

Monarda citriodora

Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Callicarpa americana

Ilex decidua

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii





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