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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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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

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