Carpet the Garden Early in the Season


Pulsatilla patens – Eastern Pasque Flower self-seeds in front garden and babies are starting to pop up!

Yesterday’s post told you all about…

plants that can carpet a garden to create a mead. If you recall, a mead is an alternative way to have a lawn today that was popular in Medieval times. It basically is a low-growing meadow filled with flowers that substitutes for a traditional lawn. No turf lawns in Medieval times, just many flowers and grasses crammed closely in the garden.

Keeping my garden full, it almost takes little care. With no bare ground, the weeds are lessened.  Little staking is required because plants are held up by neighbors. The only concern is perennials will need to be moved or removed, divided, or hacked back, so work in a tightly packed perennial garden is inevitable. If you want a mead, it will likely have more spreading plants.


Anemone blanda

I talk a lot about how I don’t think of urban home gardens as having natural meadows, but they certainly could have a mead. A mead is for more intimate areas. Since a mead has tightly placed flowers, many on the list from yesterday’s post are spreading varieties. My post, Think Before You Meadow also had a list of plants in my garden.

Tulipa batalinii in back garden

My garden changes quite drastically though the growing season and as a designer, this is good design to have garden interest, or seasonal interest in all four seasons.

Hyacinths and Pasque Flower

Unfortunately, I don’t photograph my garden enough during the year and I especially neglect doing so early season. So what do I have early in the season to carpet the garden? I plant a lot of bulbs and corms. Come summer, the garden bursts in lily bulb blooms, but now it is spring bulbs.


Siberica scilla is very aggressive and not in my garden. I might suggest not using this bulb. It might carpet the entire garden.

Pansies and Johnny Jump Ups in back garden


Quite a few annuals will self-seed for the next year, like these early pansies and Johnny Jump Ups. The Sweet Alyssum shows up later in the spring. I use many bulbs from the list plus taller growing ones as well for spring bloom.

The garden on April 26, 2015, below. Some of the ground cover plants are showing, but not all yet. The myosotis is still quite small. It is planted throughout. New pansies mix with the ones from seed.

A few weeks later you have the views below after the bulb leaves get grown over by other perennials.  The Pulmonaria or lungwort, like the tulips, pansies, muscari, pasque flower, and anemone in the post are blooming now. The myosotis and phlox are not yet blooming but the Iberis has begun to bloom.

In the first image of the gallery in late May 2014, you can see the garden gets where no soil shows. Notice too how the garden becomes mostly pink, purple and blue. Into summer, the scene gets far more colorful.

And we have a few new garden friends besides the early bees.


This Banded Wooly Bear will become the Isabella Tiger Moth.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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16 Responses to Carpet the Garden Early in the Season

  1. swo8 says:

    Hi Donna,
    Don’t you just love spring when it finally comes?

  2. Such amazing colors and shapes, candy for the soul.

  3. I’ve been thinking of adding Scilla or Chionodoxa to a small, contained area of the garden that needs an early spreading ground cover. Maybe Chionodoxa is a better choice? Your combinations of plants are beautiful, Donna.

  4. bittster says:

    Beautiful color, I’m always glad to see pictures of your own garden and it’s nice to see some blooms finally showing up. Those tulips sure do pack a punch but I love the photo of the backlit anemone most of all.

  5. Gorgeous! I just love flowers.

  6. aussiebirder says:

    Wow, how stunningly beautiful, what a wonderful concept Donna!

  7. Nurse Kelly says:

    Your photos are stunning as always! I prefer the blues and pinks and purples before all the other colors come in, actually. I’m very careful with color selection to get the desired effect I want. I love that planning aspect of gardening.

  8. Roger Brook says:

    I had never heard the term mead but I think I am starting to make one!
    I have a four foot strip on the perimeter of my garden which is also the edge of my friendly farmer’s field. You won’t approve but hitherto I have kept it clear with glyphosate. This year I have sown a throw and flower mixture down and separately made a light sowing of a fine fescue grass. I have also shipped in a number of my own herbaceous perennials.
    I already dabble elsewhere with un-mown fescue grass – and carefully spray out the coarse grasses so that the only grass is dwarf fescue.
    Perhaps in a couple of years I will be blogging about it!

  9. Stunningly beautiful photos!

  10. Beautiful spring flowers. It is interesting about the meads. It is not something that is encouraged or even known about here in New Zealand. I know it was popular in Europe some years ago.

  11. You know how much I admire your garden and that purple harmony is something else! 🙂

  12. Lula says:

    Nothing like the anticipation of finding new blooms in your garden! Lovely the pulsatilas and in case I haven’t say I love muscaris, their color invite to joy especially after a long, long winter! Very good ideas for carpeting a garden

  13. Heather says:

    Beautiful garden! And a Wooly Bear, how lucky! I haven’t seen one of those since I was a kid. Would love my kids to see one, or a dozen like I used to!

  14. I would like to grow some Pasque Flower. Are they ephemeral? I love red species tulips, I don’t have T. batalinii but I have T. praestans and T. linifolia. I direct sowed some Sweet Alyssum – hope they will germinate and bloom.

  15. Love the idea of a mead…and it was a delight to see all the blooms and how you have them mixed in the early spring season.

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