Six Steps to Establish a Beautiful Groundcover

Here are the six steps I took to end up with this groundcover growing around the base of my ginkgo tree. You can skip some of the steps, but you cannot skip the last step.

Step 1.  Grow up with a dad who takes you and your siblings out to the woods in the springtime to hunt for morel mushrooms. On the edge of the woods, you'll find some violets.  Beg your dad to let you dig some up and take them home because you love them and you know your mom does too.

Step 2.  Plant the violets in a flower bed at home.  Then watch as the violets take off in that rich garden soil. Is it as rich as the woodland soil?  Perhaps. Perhaps not. You just know that those violets got really big in that flower bed.

Step 3. Grow up and move away and then buy a house. Then go back to your parents' house, now with just your mom living there, and dig up some of those violets to take to your own house.

Step 4.  Each time you move, dig up some of the violets to take with you.

Step 5. Let the violets grow wherever they want to grow. Under the peonies? Sure. In the perennial garden bed? Yes, there too. In the lawn? Yes. Around the base of the ginkgo tree where they just showed up one day? Absolutely.

Step 6.  This is a really important step. Don't let anyone tell you the violets are weeds. Many will try to do so. They will want you to kill them. But always remember they are not weeds if you want them to grow in your garden. Just let them grow.

And that's how, in six easy steps, you can grow a beautiful groundcover, like these native violets, in your own garden.

You are welcome!


  1. Ha, they grow in my garden everywhere whether I like them there or not. I love those sweet little purple faces anywhere. My husband does not. He tries to ignore them but this time of year it isn't so easy to ignore them. tee hee.

  2. I had them in the a past residence. I loved them, but my husband hated them. I had to keep them contained in a small area. All he cared and continues to care about is a perfect lawn. Me, not so much.

  3. I love violets. And I need a tough, dry shade ground-cover that will resist dog pee. I guess these little beauties aren’t quite the solution, but they sure are pretty!

  4. In the process of doing this very thing, though without the visits to my parents' house (sold so many years ago). Another step: stop digging the violets out of your beds and borders.

  5. I have lots of violets growing everywhere. I hadn't thought of purposely planting them under the gingko, but they would probably crowd out the real weeds growing there. Ah, another task to add to the list.


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