Plants are Social, So Why Do We Surround Them with Mulch?
Azaleas in a sea of mulch in Avon. Plants can be used instead to fill in the spaces between shrubs, bushes and other flowers. (Amy Eddings, ideastream)
Barrenwort thrives in dry shade. Here's it's spreading beneath a hinoki cypress at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. (Amy Eddings, ideastream).
Pebbles will keep down weeds, but not for long. Other companion plants, spaced close together, will do a better job. (Amy Eddings, ideastream)
The Cleveland Botanical Garden's director of horticultural exhibits, Cynthia Druckenbrod, poses near lamb's ear, a great self-seeder, in one of the garden's perennial beds. (Amy Eddings, ideastream)
Erin Ruf, an intern at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, plants coleus in a shady bed near the Garden's patio. Druckenbrod says these annuals will fill out the space if fertilized. (Amy Eddings, ideastream)
A great example of the sociability of plants, grouped close together, as Mother Nature intended, in an Ohio City garden. (Amy Eddings, ideastream)
Ideastream's Amy Eddings, host of "Morning Edition" on 90.3 WCPN, noticed a funny thing on the way back from a recent trip to her local garden center. All those plants she brought home end up spaced far apart in her garden beds. "My mulch-to-plant ratio," she said, "is about 60-40!" She visited the Cleveland Botanical Garden and consulted its head of horticultural exhibits, Cynthia Druckenbrod, for advice.