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Location: Birmingham

Ideas for sunny north-facing slope in zone 7

My front yard is mostly slope and very sunny. I'm wondering what my options are for groundcover (vinca minor okay for full sun?) -- I see a lot of ivy on sunny slopes in Birmingham, as well as juniper. I'm not too fond of juniper -- at least a yard full of it. I'm looking for something that's attractive as well as low maintenance. I'm wondering about combining ivy, straw, vinca, bearded iris, ornamental grasses, and even wildflowers. Now, I realize I've thrown some things in here that may not be possible nor may they be easy to design or put together. I'm also up for something as simple as just vinca minor (if it works in full sun) against some straw for a bit of shaping (I know what I mean but don't know how to put it.).

The house is a 1955 rancher, standing two stories in the front (if a rancher can be 2 stories in the front). About 25 feet in front of the house, the slope flattens and remains flat to the house. An oak stands approximately two-fifths of the way from the driveway across the yard. A white dogwood stands to the left of the oak near the drive way and sidewalk.

Currently, I have someone mow the lawn because it's just too steep for me. Alas, I'm afraid I let it grow a month before getting it cut again, and it gets very overgrown by then.

Thanks for any ideas! I will need to hire someone to actually do the work, and I have no idea how much I'll be paying. I'd actually like to have this done for around $1,000. Is this possible?

Sherry in Birmingham

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Location: TN/GA 7b

Ground cover is a good idea for a slope like that. Here's some suggestions for nice perennial ground covers, that should work for your site. Look them up and see what you think.

carolina jasmine - often used as vine, climber, it can be used just as a sprawling ground cover. Fragrant yellow flowers.

sweet box- evergreen. It's actually a very low growing shrub. Has little boxwood type leaves and fragrant flowers.

ajuga - hardy adaptable, very low growing ground covers. Comes in a variety of different colored variegated foliage. Blue flower spikes in spring.

blue leadwort (plumbago) - fast spreading hardy ground cover, variegated foliage that turns reddish in fall, blue flowers late summer to fall.

chameleon plant - fast spreader, can be invasive. But likes a lot of water, being in a drier location will help keep it from getting out of control. Brilliantly variegated colorful foliage.

snow on the mountain (bishop's weed) - Green and white variegated foliage. Another very fast spreader that can be invasive - but that's sort of what you want in order to fill in your space.

virginia creeper - if you were thinking about ivy, plant virginia creeper instead. It is a very pretty native vine/ground cover, big 5 lobed leaves. Has berries birds like and very nice fall foliage color.
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Adding to the list: Fragaria virginiana -- Wild strawberries. I have a bed of them that sprang up on it's own and proceeded to take over. We LOVE the tiny but intensely flavored berries. Only thing I do for them is to water during the worst of the summer drought and pile fall leaves on them for the winter. Maybe weed a little.

I just bought a variegated form of Virginia Creeper at a native plant sale. It's very pretty. Still trying to decide where to put it. :roll:

I don't think Vinca minor likes full sun. I do have variegated Vinca minor 'Ralph Shugert' It jumped the walkway from the foundation planting and is trying to make its way among the strawberries. I wouldn't recomment Vinca monor now because I've learned that it's a non-native species that is overtaking some natural areas and in Nature/Wildlife Preserves, volunteers are battling to eliminate them.

Daylilies and spring flowering bulbs are also good. Peony would thrive there too, but you'd need to support the flowers. (Bearded iris fall over too sometimes). Wildflowers would be very pretty. Try Prairie Moon Nursery website.

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Thank you for wonderful replies

I was so happy to see such thoughtful replies this morning. Will look again when I'm not working.

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