Ground cover defined
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URBANA -- Information that
was assembled by University of Illinois Extension and won top honors
at this year's Chicago Flower and Garden Show is now available on
the Web. "From the Ground Up" was named the best horticultural
education exhibit at the Navy Pier show, which continues to March
21, said Jane Scherer, U of I Extension urban programs specialist.
"You can access the information in the
exhibit from your own home by visiting Extension's urban programs
going to the 'Hort Corner' section and selecting 'From the Ground
Up,'" she said. The direct address is
The site will be helpful to home
gardeners who are planning their 2004 gardens and considering ground
cover plants to augment the landscape.
"Ground covers can be anything from a
couple of inches tall to 3 or 4 feet," said Greg Stack, U of I
Extension horticulture educator based in Matteson, who developed the
new site. "If a plant has the capability of providing cover over the
soil and prevents weed growth and erosion, it's a ground cover."
"From the Ground Up" is divided into
sections dealing with general information about ground covers, the
care and maintenance of the plants, tips for the home gardener, and
a directory of ground cover plants.
Scherer noted that the site includes
plants that may not often been considered for ground cover but are
quite effective in accenting gardens.
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"Gardeners can use ground covers for
problem areas and to unify divergent components of the landscape.
They can be used as traffic barriers, visual guides and to define
space," she said.
"Ground covers are not the 'bottom
feeders' of the landscape. They add interest and bring unity to the
garden, making them the unsung heroes among the more horticulturally
prominent members of the garden," Stack added.
The site also includes a chart that can
be used to determine how many plants will be needed based on the
square footage of the garden area.
Stack pointed out that the ground cover
categories include some unusual members.
"Moss can be
considered a ground cover," he said. "While heavy, dense shade is
often considered a curse, it is a blessing when it comes to moss.
The color and texture of moss can add great interest to a home
garden, and it is virtually maintenance-free."
[University of Illinois news