The Bugola herb
With the term grass bugola a small creeping perennial is indicated, whose Latin name is ajuga reptans; it is a plant of fairly compact dimensions, which produces a dense carpet of oval or roundish leaves, quite soft, from which in summer a sturdy stem rises, up to 25-35 cm high, which bears some small blue flowers , with five petals; it belongs to the same family as mint, and the familiarity is very noticeable in the similarity between the flowers of the two plants.
In Italy the ajuga reptans is a weed, over time it widens to form large spots, which prevent the development of other plants.
Fortunately, the nurserymen have been busy over the years to obtain small, dense and compact varieties of ajuga, which generally tend not to infest the entire perennial bed. Particularly appreciated are the varieties with dark leaves, almost chocolate brown, which in addition to having the advantage of not spreading out of proportion, are much more decorative than the green leaf cousins.
The ajuga is a perennial resistant and long flowering, much appreciated in gardens with an almost natural, English appearance.
Grow the Ajuga
As we said, the ajuga reptans is in nature an endemic plant of Europe, which tends to become infested; therefore the cultivation treatments to have it in the garden are not so many or difficult: the ajuga is well suited to a small corner of the garden, in the sun or in partial shade.
Poniamola to dwell in a well-worked soil and enriched with manure, once the plants have taken root well, we will hardly have to pay attention in the following years.
It generally tolerates drought, but it is good to water it regularly in the hottest and dryest periods, to prevent the plant from ceasing to flower; for the same reason we remove the ears of withered flowers.
Towards the end of summer the plant tends to dry up and completely lose the aerial part, which will return in spring; for all the cold months we can forget about our bugles, without fear that they will be ruined; they also bear frost well, being in complete vegetative rest.
The ajuga also propagates by seed, so it is not infrequent that from year to year it nourishes new plants in different areas of the garden; since the plants we buy in the nursery are often hybrids, it is not said that the plants that sprout from seed are identical to the mother plant; so if we sell bugles in the garden completely different from the one we have planted, it is advisable to eradicate them, to avoid that they also fill the flowerbed of the variety we have chosen to cultivate.
Grass Bugola: Ground cover plants
Often in the garden we forget the usefulness of planting ground cover plants; this type of plants produces roots that, in addition to sinking into the ground, also tend to expand rapidly, often remaining partly just below the surface.
Perennial plants are planted in the turf; like these plants, often the other ground coverings are vigorous and develop rapidly, until they cover the whole area that they find free from other plants.
This feature is very useful especially in large gardens, where it is not always possible to fill all the flower beds, without buying hundreds of small plants; a perennial ground cover can reach considerable dimensions over the years, to cover several square meters of flowerbed.
There are many perennial ground coverings that are used in the garden, in particular some, like those of the turf, are evergreen, therefore they continue to grow occupying the area in which they are throughout the year; others, like the bugola herb, with the arrival of cold they dry up, leaving the root system in rest until the following spring.
In these cases, it is not always easy to always have a flowering flowerbed: if, once the perennials have dried, we go to work the soil to position other plants, we will destroy the plant roots already at home, in this way we will have cultivated the our perennials as annuals, and every year we will have to replace them.
Certainly in this way we will be able to plant different plants every year and enjoy different foliage or flowering; however we will not have taken advantage of the fact that we have ground cover plants, which tend to expand more and more on the ground as the months go by.
Often this inconvenience is obviated by planting perennial herbaceous perennials and bulbs in the same autumn: these two types of plants will not be too much to disturb.
At the end of winter we will be able to enjoy the bulbous plants, when they begin to fade we will have the first leaves of perennials that are growing, and therefore our flowerbed will be green or flowered for about nine months a year.