Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Horticultural Interpreter.
Under the linden tree in front of Wave Hill House are several patches of this excellent native ground cover plant.
In the wild, Robin’s plantain (Erigeron pulchellus) is found over much of eastern North America. Often seen in rocky, wooded places, it is equally at home in fields and along roadsides. Its small, daisy-like flowers are mostly white.
This selection, ‘Lynnhaven,’ has a dense coating of tiny hairs over the foliage, giving the plant a slightly gray appearance, while the flowers, which are opening now on tall fuzzy stalks, are larger and have a slight hint of lilac.
Completely happy in both poor and dry soils, it can also tolerate full sun or part shade and moisture. It spreads by underground stolons (shoot-like roots) and quickly forms a weed-suppressing, thick mat—a far more attractive ground cover than a load of mulch!