If you have a sunny slope that is difficult to mow, in a location with well drained, sandy soil, try a chamomile lawn.
The delightful apple scent is a reward in itself, and using chamomile as a groundcover offers some advantages, like low mowing, feeding and watering needs, but the plant is definitely not low maintenance.
To make life easier, chose a low growing, non-flowering variety that has been bred specifically for this purpose. This hybrid variety will not go to seed, for obvious reasons, so you will need to purchase the plants and/or propagate them by division in spring. The plants have to be spaced 12 to 18 inches apart, which requires patience with the spotty look until they fill out.
If you select a species variety, which does come true from seed, you'll have the benefits of reseeding, but the plants grow too tall and you'll have to shear the spent flowers unfailingly, otherwise the lawn develops bare patches. Make sure the spot you are covering is weed free: regular weed killers are too harsh for this groundcover, so the weeds will have to be plucked by hand or you need to apply spot treatment.
Chamomile doesn't like wet feet, especially in winter, but it doesn't mind heavy soils if they have good drainage and full sun exposure. The established lawn is quite long lived and will tolerate light foot traffic after the first year.
I have tried growing chamomile for years, as a medicinal plant, not a ground cover, but didn't have much luck with the annual variety. This time I planted Roman chamomile and it seems to have overwintered beautifully. I'm thrilled!
Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog
I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.