Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - October 22, 2015

From: Rochester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Creekside Groundcover for Upstate New York
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live in Upstate New York in Rochester. Our winters can have lows of -10 at night at times. I have 1,300 linear feet of creekside land that seniors can view from their homes. Because of the brush, it is hard for them to walk and view the creek. I have brush hogged the entire 1,300 feet of creekside bank to prep for some sort of low growing groundcover that will beautify the bank if possible. The soil is well drained because we are on the high side of the creek. It has limited sun during the day. Can you help with plants that self seed once planted that will fill in from the creek bed to the grass we have establish on top. We would like a plant that grows only about 1 or 2 feet tall if possible.

ANSWER:

There are some nice perennials native to New York that would work well on your creekside bank and which would be showy, selfseed over time and grow to be about 2 feet tall. To get a list of potentials, visit the Native Plant Database on our website and select the following criteria: New York, Herb, Perennial, Part Shade, Dry and 0-3 feet tall.

Here are some suggestions from the search:

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Ageratina altissima (white snakeroot)

Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantain-leaf pussytoes)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf coreopsis)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod)

Symphyotrichum oolentangiense (skyblue aster)

 

From the Image Gallery


Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

White snakeroot
Ageratina altissima

Woman's tobacco
Antennaria plantaginifolia

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Longleaf milkweed
Asclepias longifolia

Bluebell bellflower
Campanula rotundifolia

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Skyblue aster
Symphyotrichum oolentangiense

More Groundcovers Questions

Dying non-native St. Augustine grass from Austin
May 02, 2013 - Although we all know St. Augustine grass is not a good thing, I am stuck with it and am trying to save areas that appear to have take-all fungus. I have done much reading online and have tried peat m...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for rocky slope
February 27, 2012 - My house has a very steep and very rocky slope. We have no problems with erosion, its just very unnattractive. There is no way to mow it whatsoever, and we live in a planned community so we can't h...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant groundcover for New Braunfels, TX
September 24, 2011 - Could you recommend some deer resistant ground cover plants for the New Braunfels area? We have tried Ajuga and Katie's Ruellia and they have been eaten.
view the full question and answer

What habitat would my Antennaria solitaria like in Red Bank, TN?
October 26, 2010 - I want to know what habitat my mystery plant will like- sun, shade, dry or moist. I think it is an Antennaria solitaria or Little Pussytoes. I got it at a native plant sale here in Chattanooga. It has...
view the full question and answer

Compatibility of mixed ground covers with St. Agustine grass
March 04, 2015 - My husband and I live in Northwest Austin. We have removed lawn from our front yard and replaced it with mulch and some trees and other plantings. We would like to replace the lawn in our backyard ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.