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Khadaji
03-02-2009, 06:53 AM
My front yard is mostly trees. But the top of the bank has about a 5 foot wide area that needs some ground cover. If it is possible, here is what I want:

Grows well in shade. (All trees means that it doesn't get much direct light)
Grows aggressively (will squeeze out other plants.)
Colorful most of the spring and summer.
Doesn't grow too high.
Will come back next year.

Is there anything like that? If not, I'll take recommendations that fit most of the requests.

(Cafe is where gardening goes, isn't it?)

twickster
03-02-2009, 08:59 AM
Colorful isn't going to happen, not with a perennial.

You might want to consider lilies of the valley -- they'll totally take over the area, do well in shade, and will give you fragrant flowers in the spring.

Otherwise, probably vinca (aka myrtle, aka periwinkle) -- glossy green foliage, pretty purple flowers in the spring (though it may not bloom as well in the shade).

Miss Mapp
03-02-2009, 09:04 AM
Pachysandra. It's not colorful--only has little white clover-like flowers--but it's a hardy perennial and covers the ground well once it gets going. It's the only thing I've managed to put in successfully under a pine tree.

lieu
03-02-2009, 09:13 AM
I'm further south than you but Asian Jasmine (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.ci.palm-coast.fl.us/Resident/PCParadise/nature/slides/Plant%2520Pics/trachelospermum_asiaticum.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.ci.palm-coast.fl.us/Resident/PCParadise/nature/ground_asianjas.htm&usg=__uHZHMHYlmamGyNekhJasAva1bII=&h=150&w=150&sz=19&hl=en&start=8&tbnid=2yk1JQoQselU9M:&tbnh=96&tbnw=96&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dasian%2Bjasmine%26hl%3Den) sure works well in similar conditions for us. Not so colorful other than a brief flowering phase but it will grow thick enough to choke weeds out. It's growing prolifically under my large Live Oaks so it's definately shade tolerant.

Ardesia (http://grand-gardens.com/gallery/d/401-1/Ardesia.jpg) is another.

Carson O'Genic
03-02-2009, 10:52 AM
Here's some zone 6 groundcovers that I've grown for bee forage (honey production) to solve problems on banks and hard to maintain areas. Some are legumes so soil fertility/ condition aren't paramount, they usually don't mind shade (but won't be aggressive too far under the drip line) and some spread by seed drop AND stolon, so they'll be back next year. If you sowed a mix you'd have a variety of colour and the blossoms are long lasting.
Hairy vetch
Almost any clover
Creeping thyme
Wild marjoram
Phacelia

Some can get bushy, and the vetch will climb other plants given the opportunity, but height isn't an issue.

Sigmagirl
03-02-2009, 10:57 AM
We have had pretty good luck with phlox. We are about the same level of holyshitcold as you are, I think.

Mahna Mahna
03-02-2009, 11:39 AM
I second the motion for lily of the valley and/or periwinkle.

I'd imagine that Toronto isn't too different from you in terms of USDA zones, so here are a few others that are doing well in my mostly-shade garden:
Serbian Bellflower (http://www.calfloranursery.com/pages_plants/pages_c/campos.html) (they do better in part-sun, though)
English Ivy (it's growing like a mofo... I've had to trim it back to keep it from climbing up the maple tree)
Creeping Jenny (http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.340.100) (I have a golden one that's a gorgeous bright lime green)
Spotted Deadnettle (http://www.johnstonplants.com/perenials/lamium%20orchid%20frost%20deadnettle.JPG) (watch this one, though... it can be invasive if you don't keep an eye on it)

lissener
03-02-2009, 01:39 PM
Lysimachia nummularia aurea (http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/785/835077.JPG)
Ajuga reptans atropurpurea (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b9/Ajuga_reptans_atropurpurea_02_ies.jpg)
Aegopodium podagraria variegata (http://www.soquelnursery.com/images/aegopodium_variegata.JPG) (if bed is surrounded by concrete and you have a flamethrower to control it)
Cornus (http://www.abnativeplants.com/_ccLib/image/plants/DETA-116.jpg) canadensis (http://www.abnativeplants.com/_ccLib/image/plants/DETA2-116.jpg) (slow to establish but worth it)

Jackmannii
03-02-2009, 01:43 PM
Lamium, hostas, brunnera (the latter spreads gradually by self-seeding and has fantastic sprays of small light blue flowers for a long season in spring).

Allegheny spurge, a relative of pachysandra, grows more slowly but is also more attractive with variegated leaves.

Ogre
03-02-2009, 01:53 PM
PLEASE don't take the advice to plant non-natives. Especially the vincas. I'm not going to get on my ecological high horse here, but please, please, please consider sticking to native vegetation. Even if you control the exotics now, you may not be able to do so further down the road, and they'll either become eyesores, escape and spread all over the place, or both.

I'd suggest native ferns like Christmas fern, or bracken. Or go with native ground cover like Canadian ginger. This will grow pretty aggressively, and it forms beautiful, low, glossy mats.

elfkin477
03-02-2009, 01:55 PM
How about creeping myrtle? It spreads and spreads and has pretty flowers. A description I just read calls the flowers blue, but I see them as purple.

lissener
03-02-2009, 02:22 PM
How about creeping myrtle? It spreads and spreads and has pretty flowers. A description I just read calls the flowers blue, but I see them as purple.

Since true blue is so rare in flowers, anything on the violet side of magenta is referred to as blue. Same goes for white in hemerocallis (http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/153100/) and black (http://landscaping.about.com/od/colorfulflowers/ig/black_flowers/black_rose.htm) in any (http://www.tulipworld.com/itemdesc.asp?item=Black-Tulips-Queen-of-the-Night-20-bulbs&cat=ValuePacks_Fall&ic=4803) plant (http://www.dutchbulbs.com/store/daylilies/15845); if a hybridizer achieves a shade a hair closer to the goal, even if it's objectively nowhere near it, they claim victory.

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