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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - August 23, 2013

From: Beaverton, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for Oregon gravel path
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm looking for a native ground cover to grow in the gravel between flagstones in a path in my backyard. The gravel is 1/4-10 so it is very loose. The path gets midday sun but is shaded by the house in the morning and a big-leaf maple in the afternoon. The path is adjacent to beds with drip irrigation so it can be as dry or wet as I want. My first thought was creeping thyme, but I'd prefer something native.

ANSWER:

Here are a number of low-growing plants suitable for groundcovers.   They will all grow in part shade and are native to Washington County, Oregon or surrounding area.

Fragaria chiloensis (Beach strawberry)  Here is more information from University of California Marin Master Gardeners.

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)  Here is more information from Seven Oaks Native Nursery in Albany OR.

Phlox adsurgens (Northern phlox)  Here is more information from Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay CA.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit)  Here is more information from Perennials.com.

Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. integrifolia (Ledge stonecrop)  Here is more information from Pacific Northwest Wildflowers.

Saxifraga bronchialis (Yellowdot saxifrage)  Here are photos and more information from Pacific Northwest Wildflowers.

Whipplea modesta (Common whipplea)  Here is more information from the Watershed Nursery.

 

From the Image Gallery


Beach strawberry
Fragaria chiloensis

Virginia strawberry
Fragaria virginiana

Northern phlox
Phlox adsurgens

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Ledge stonecrop
Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. integrifolia

Common whipplea
Whipplea modesta

More Groundcovers Questions

Aggressive Frogfruit
September 17, 2009 - I have frogfruit voluntarily growing in my flower beds. I had intended to use it as a ground cover but am concerned that it is taking over. Will it kill (smother) my flowers that I have planted for bu...
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Groundcover for wet area in Missouri
May 25, 2009 - Hello, I live in Missouri and our neighborhood is built over a natural spring. Half of my yard remains wet/moist for weeks to months and we can't mow it. I'm looking for a ground cover and plants...
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May 27, 2009 - My home is on a canal to a natural lake in Central Florida (Orlando area). I am wondering if there is a wildflower that I can grow on a 3' high canal bank that is mostly shady.
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May 28, 2007 - I'm growing some rubus trivialis in a 1-gal. pot and plan to plant it this fall. Will this dewberry coexist with American beautyberry, or must it have its own space entirely? If it needs its own sp...
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Evergreen groundcover under pine tree in NY
May 23, 2008 - Hello! I live in upstate NY. I'm trying to find an evergreen ground cover to plant under a pine tree. I believe it's a white spruce (but I'm not postive). I've read conflicting information reg...
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