I love Charlie for exactly that reason. The only downside is it tends to get into the middle of plantings where you don't necessarily want it. It will out compete some delicate flora, but I don't let that bother me. If a plant can't stand up for itself it needs a different gardener.
MizEllie and her Service Dog, MaeMae
Zone 4, NW Wisconsin
I like creeping charlie as a ground cover
1. it spreads by itself to cover bare ground
2. it has a long flower period and is liked by bumblebees
3. it can be somewhat pushy but can be easily controlled by chop and drop
(or yank and drop, depending on your frustration level)
4. I have it growing under the blueberries and raspberries, asparagus,
5 I don't do much annual gardening but my tomatoes and peppers at stuck
into other planting where creeping resides
I LOVE CC - we call it ground ivy. It's great in the annual veggie garden pathways. It will creep into the beds but can be yanked back or left to sprawl as desired, depending on the crop, and mowed if it's too tall. Much easier to work with than white Dutch clover whose creeping roots are way more tenacious. It's a great ground cover in the raspberry and asparagus patches. You can move clumps into new areas as it transplants very readily. Really pretty too with a bunch of dandelions in flower.
I don't much like the creeping charlie but no longer actively dislike it. That's the combined influence of permaculture, laziness, and experience. (Kind of like life.)
In our garden, we've had success growing okra, kale, winter squash, luffa, and tomatoes in areas infested by creeping c. Daikon doesn't mind it, either. Once the plants I want have their heads above creeping c level, I don't pay it much mind and only pull it when I feel like it. It definitely does creep, though...
ground cover or "living mulch" also help capture nutrients in the early spring that would be lost
before your vegetables are planted or your shrubs and trees wake up
nature supplies an endless source of ground cover
their "prime directive" is to grow as much as they can, everywhere they can if one is happy with this, then finding a suitable groundcover is easy and may happen by itself
the problem arises when one asks ground cover to do something else
"I want it to grow well in my area
I want it to say in the bed
I want it to leave my ____ alone
I want it to have flowers
I want it to be edible
I don't want it to be poisonous or allergenic
now the list shrinks considerably
and the person is left with a compromised choice
and more importantly
constraining the plant's "prime directive"
I'm very fond of gill-over-the-ground, (glechoma hederacea). In the past two years, the small, vibrant patches of it, responded to environmental. and soil conditions, with soil growing poorer in quality. I joined this site and forum today having read Ellie Strand's comment,
"I love Charlie for exactly that reason. The only downside is it tends to get into the middle of plantings where you don't necessarily want it. It will out compete some delicate flora, but I don't let that bother me. If a plant can't stand up for itself it needs a different gardener"
Her statement describes me to a "T" and I found it heartening, and yet... this summer, the glechoma has covered the back "lawn.," and I gaze out with mixed emotions.
As a child, I was happiest sitting in a field, gazing at the wildflowers, of which there was an abundance. In subsequent decades, I have lived various places and seen the destruction of wildflowers. The yard here sprouted various asteraceae on its own, and, every year, along with plantago, three varieties of solidago, (goldenrods), milkweeds, and the like, resulting in a yard is filled with wildflowers growing wildly, oftentimes giving the appearance of B-grade science fiction aliens, especially the cichorium intybus, (chicory, cornflower, and by all other names known). The few remaining bees love this arrangement, and I thrill to the late summer and autumnal color display, and the winter architecture of the dried plants, and yet...
I love a formal, suburban-traditional yard. Mowed grass. Nothing out of place. Not a stray leaf or plant stem to be seen. Thoughtfully chosen and constructed flower gardens, by "real" gardeners, or the people hired to make create them. This paradox makes my wildflower-pollinator-love, rather challenging, especially as the property sits in a neighborhood that is more the latter. I can not, by any interpretation, be described as a "gardener."
For the first three years of residence here, maybe a bit longer, the yard had patches of wildflowers, but there was green grass. I look at photographs of that time, and wonder how "I" and Nature made this perfect harmony. (A feeling of self-disgust is hard to repress here). But I kept noting the increasing absence of wildflowers in the area - I should note that this is an in-town location, and it has become more of a mission to ensure the continuance of things wild, as well as to decrease the amount of lawn that requires, (by ordinance), mowing, with the result that the "harmony" is solely that of the colors and sounds of a few bees.
There are days, like this one, when I would like nothing better than to pull most every wildflower up by the roots, and attempt to recreate the harmony, and more traditional look of the early years. I wonder if I have "given up" or "given over." When considering the likelihood of having to live in an apartment-type building again, I know I could not. If I cannot walk outside immediately, and straight from room to outdoors, there would be no point. Now, if I had the finances, I could happily have a small patio, preferably enclosed and private, with doors opening directly to it. This will not happen. This isn't something you can talk yourself into, if the greatest pleasure you have known is being within the natural word. But I have digressed...
The gill-over-the-ground, is not going to be replaced by grass, as much as it has replaced all but a few square feet of "lawn." I will 'suffer' the sense of misfit, so that I can exult in nature-over controlled environment. I will try not to embrace the rare passerby who expresses great joy from the sight of the "wild" yard, and I will look forward to the Spring, clinging to the hope that the bumblebees will have spread the word that this, this, THIS, yard, with its glorious blooming treats, is, to them, the Ritz.
And, re-quoting Ellie Strand, "If a plant can't stand up for itself it needs a different gardener." Me, too.
John Suavecito wrote:Isn't creeping charlie edible? Have you eaten it? Do you like it?
Yes and yes. I enjoy the scent as well. In the early spring when there is a salad of purple blooms from creeping charlie, purple dead nettle, and henbit, I gather the tiny blooms and dry for tea and have added fresh blooms to omelettes. Along with oxalis too.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. —Albert Einstein
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