Spring arrived for a day or two several weeks ago and apparently didn’t like the setting. It yielded to cold and rain, rain, and more cold…..and made the color gray exceedingly dull, the only color in town.

Unless, that is, you have a bunch of healthy conifers decorating the world around your residence. Add a number of flowering shrubs and trees and you have indeed become blessed this Spring.

And then, there are the ground covers, the garden lawn being about the only one Twin Citians recognize.

Without a doubt, a well cared for lawn is an attraction during the wet season. Its green is greener with regular waterings. Lawn grasses grow faster when it is wet and cool. Weed dandelions close up flowering giving the illusion that even the worst maintained of lawns might be admired by the uniformity of color.

But lawn isn’t the only ground cover in town. For decades river rock and chipped limestone have been added “to cover the ground” by the coarse, lazy, and thoughtless, those having no regard for beauty, plants, and Mother Earth.

More recently wood chip mulches are bought or bagged up for general use to cover the ground. Even ‘chipped’ old rubber tires have been used as a cover to ‘keep out the weeds’.

We, at Masterpiece prefer the following:

By far the most attractive blooming ground covers in our area, the creeping plants which often happily and beautifully ‘cover’ the ground are Ajugas, Creeping Phlox, Lily of the Valley, Sweet Woodruff, Lamiastrum, many Lamiums, Pachysandra, Moneywort, several Sedums, Thyme, Vinca, and White Rockcress.

Then one must add the creeper conifers: The junipers, Calgary Carpet, JapGarden, Hughes, Daub’s Frosted, Goldstrike, Blue Chip and Blue Prince, Prince of Wales, Wilton Carpet, even Buffalo, Broadmore and Emerald Spreader Yew.

None of these woodies can be walked upon as if they were lawn. Only the Thymes among the non-woody can pretend to be lawnlike in this regard, especially when added to planting spaces amid rocks and walkways.

This rainy, cool, and cold Spring has produced the ugliest weather, halting and delaying nearly every bloomin’ Spring bloomer for weeks. No longer able to hold back Mother Nature these garden plants came to stage their color all at the same time….including all of the spring ground covers, most of the spring bulbs…with all of the conifers, creepers and otherwise, producing their ‘budding’ new growth more prominently than in their dry pasts.

Remember too, that well planned and cultivated landscape gardens, like people, gain character with age.