Groundcovers save time and effort
Time is precious, and most of us like to make the most of the time we have in our gardens. We don't want to spend most of that precious time weeding. So, how can we stop the weeds?
First, prevent weeds growing. Weeds will more readily establish in bare earth where seeds can settle and germinate. So eliminate bare earth by planting densely and using mulch and groundcovers.
Prostrate grevilleas like royal mantle, bronze rambler and cooroora cascade will cover about 4sqm, so they are great for large areas. Calliandra Red Flash is another tough yet pretty one, with bright red pompom flowers and ferny foliage. There is also a prostrate conifer, Shore Juniper (juniperus conferta), which is very hardy and does a good job.
Another favourite groundcover which will look good in a more formal or a tropical garden is trachelospermum jasminoides tricolor, a variegated chinese star jasmine. It has beautiful splashes of pink and cream and the occasional fragrant white flower. It is slow to get moving, but very hardy and after a while will cover a substantial area.
Gardenia radicans, the groundcover gardenia, has small glossy green leaves and masses of fragrant white flowers in spring and again in autumn. There are groundcover camellias - Marge Miller has pink flowers and Snow has white ones.
Many herbs make excellent groundcovers too, especially oregano, thyme, pennyroyal and mint.
Mondo grass is great to smother weeds in narrow spaces such as the gaps between pavers. Other grasses and strappy leaved plants can be used too, and many will grow in sunny or semi-shaded positions. The dense clumps they form as they multiply are almost impenetrable.
But some weeds will still appear. Pull them or kill them. Remember 'One year's seeding makes seven years' weeding'. Deal with them before they set seed or some seeds will fall and start the process anew.
Pulling them out is my preferred approach, making sure all roots are removed.
My favourite natural weed killer for paved areas is boil the kettle and pour it on.