There are two sweet little groundcovers in my garden that shine in late May. They put out little stars but you have to look down, not up to see them. Stars on the ground.
The first is Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko'. No, it's not the big rangy deutzia shrub you know. It is a midget shrub that is a graceful low spreader with clean, nice foliage, and pure white stars for blooms.
It is a woody shrub, but it hugs the ground and never gets more than eight inches tall. It roots wherever the arching branches touch the soil, so it fills a space over time.
The second little midget shrub is a dogwood. Again, it is not the dogwood you know, the flowering tree. It is a groundcover. Cornus canadensis, or Bunchberry, has the dogwood blooms that are so familiar, but they are tiny.
I have had a difficult relationship with this plant. It has been a pain to establish in my garden and I have bought many little plants and lost many. It is very fussy --- bunchberry wants very acid soil, shade, some moisture and the perfect alignment of the stars in the sky to thrive. When its needs are met, it spreads. It gets great maroon fall foliage, a real plus to have color at ground level.
Normally I have no patience for failures or fussy plants, and they get replaced with something else. I keep trying with this plant, though, because I just love the idea that you can look down and see dogwood blooms. And the foliage is so pretty. And for some unknown reason, I just want this in my garden.
I have several plants under a 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple where they do get the shade they need. Some are spreading a little and new plants have been added.
I like both of these nice groundcovers. I especially like having stars at my feet.