Lysimachia nummularia: The Creeping Jenny
I love to use plants along the edges of the water features I build to soften the hard edges of stone and add color and life to them. One of the plants I tend to use over and over is the Creeping Jenny or Moneywort, Lysimachia nummularia, an attractive and versatile perennial ground cover that neither rabbits nor deer will touch.
Floating Bog, Nelson’s Water Gardens
Named for its round, coin shaped leaves, gold in color when grown in full sun, Creeping Jenny performs beautifully just about anywhere I put it. With a constant supply of moisture, along streams and pond edges, it can handle the hottest sun. Forget “creeping” – this plant positively runs in the sun, growing quickly from both its vine-like branches and long roots to cover edges both in and out of the water.
In deep shade its growth slows somewhat, leaves glowing a soft green as it carpets soil, stone and gravel alike. Easy to propagate, one plant will spread to cover many running feet of stream edge. It is vigorous almost to a fault. If it thins out in one spot simply grab a handful from somewhere else and tuck it into moist soil. It will usually root without any extra care.
As if that weren’t enough, for all you other closeted herbalists, Creeping Jenny is a mild astringent, a diuretic and an effective vulnerary – applied to open wounds its crushed leaves are antibacterial and promote healing. (I don’t know about you guys but ‘vulnerary’ is my new favorite obscure word of the day.)
Finally, those of us who appreciate a brew every now and then might be interested to know the ancient Anglo Saxons called it alehoof – ‘ale herb’ – and used it to flavor and clarify beer. What a plant!
About the Author:
Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.