Pachysandra, or Japanese Spurge is one of the first ground covers to bloom in spring.  It may look like a tender or fragile little plant, but actually it is an evergreen from zones 4-8 holding that beautiful foliage all winter long.  The bees are always happy to find the flowers when little else is blooming in March in the southern areas, or early April in the colder areas.

Everyone loves their lawn but the biggest culprit to growing grass is shade.  Once the shade becomes too dense, the grass thins out and melts away.  It is not a replacement for grass as it would not like foot traffic, but the perfect elegant year round green groundcover.  Maybe you have some larger pines on your property?  The shade and shedding needles become the perfect spot to grow Pachysandra.  Picture some large, sweeping beds of Pachysandra as the backdrop to your shade loving perennials and annuals.