Here are five favorites, all new to my garden this year, in no particular order:
1. Cheddar Pink
The dramatic contrast in the photo is Picasa artificial, but the blooms of Cheddar Pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Tiny Rubies'), pictured above, do stand out in the garden. They are about a half inch across and the plants are about four or five inches high, tiny even for Pinks. My clumps have spread to about three or four times the size they were in the spring. They're nice along the edge of an herb garden. They smell good; they make a good addition to potpourri. They're edible, too.
2. Fairy Thimbles
Bell-shaped flowers delight me and tiny bell-shaped flowers are thoroughly enchanting. Fairy Thimbles (Campanula cochlearifolia 'Bavaria Blue') was a a good performer. With a name like Bavaria Blue, I thought it might need cooler nighttime temperatures than we have in Charlotte, but it never seemed to languish. The bloom was heavy and there are new clumps popping up around the mother plant now. Flowers are about a half inch long and the plants are about six inches high. I hope to have this one for a long time. Love it!
3. White Star Creeper
For a delicate, dewdrop fresh feel to your garden or patio, White Star Creeper (Pratia angulata 'Treadwellii') is a good choice. This plant will tolerate drought fairly well, but it really appreciates some extra water, especially if you have it near rocks or stones. The interesting asymmetry of the blossoms and that green and purple center is oh so pretty! Look at the star shape of the buds. Too cute. After blooming, purple berries form, adding interest to another season.
4. Heron's Bill
I only knew Erodium as a lawn weed, but this Heron's Bill (Erodium reichardii 'Charm') has been very well behaved. Dark veining in the flowers and fuzzy blue-green leaves let you know how this cultivar got the name Charm. Blooming has slowed down now, but it has been in bloom most of spring and summer. Flowers are a half inch or so across; leaves hug the ground, reaching no more than two or three inches high.
5. Ice Plant
White flowered Ice Plant (Delosperma 'Osberg') likes dry conditions, as you might surmise from the succulence of the leaves. Another ground-hugger, this Delosperma is barely two inches tall, covered all season with daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. I planted mine right next to a stone wall, in the sun, and it started to die out where it was closest to the stones. So, I plucked off a piece, stuck it in some dirt nearby, and that clump rooted, grew and flowered in very short order. I am worried about too much winter moisture and will dig at least part of my clump and save it over winter in a pot. The cheery look of this plant always made me smile; I hope to keep it around!
If you want some creepers and blooming miniatures for your garden, Stepables and Jeepers Creepers are two lines of that you may see at your nurseries. Both have searchable lists of plants at their websites so you can plan ahead for fall and next spring, or just learn more about these fun plants.