The people who owned our house before us put in heavily barked beds all around the house. A desperate and, in most cases, futile attempt to keep the grass and weeds away from the house. One area where they were fairly successful is in the front of the house by the deck (as opposed to the back where the grass is duking it out with the boxwoods they planted). However, two peonies, two overgrown viburnum and a pile of rocks does not a garden make. I plan to slowly fill all of these barked beds with drought tolerant and/or densely growing ground covers to make them low maintenance.
Now the plants I have above are not “a dense groundcover” but they do spread and they are extremely drought tolerant. They are sempervivums (literally “Live Forevers”)-also commonly known as hens and chicks. I love them. I think they are fabulous. I have been working to spread and propagate them in pots for two years now and I thought that have earned their chance at being in the ground. Now I know they will thrive all summer long, but how will they handle the winter and the snow that piles up there? I left all of their pots outside on the deck over winter so I think they should be fine but only time will tell.
I also like that planting them by the house is traditional. The Romans planted them on the roofs of their houses (Sempervivums were also known as “House leeks”) to avert lightening and fire.
My hope is to eventually fill the whole corner of this bed with sempervivums. It’s going to be a while! 🙂