You might try overseeding the perennials with a low-growing cover (Dutch
white clover is one of our favorites). We use it as a permanent living
mulch with perennial vegetables such as asparagus and rhubarb.
I tried Dutch white clover a couple of years ago as a seasonal living mulch
with several annual flower crops (strawflowers, celosia, zinnia), with only
fair results. I waited until the flowers (strawflowers and celosia from
transplant, zinnia direct-seeded) were about 6 inches tall before
overseeding, which was too late in the spring for the clover to germinate
and establish itself.
As a winter cover, overseeded clover or clover/oats, clover/annual rye
mixes work well. I overseed the annual flower beds in early September. This
gives the cover crop a chance to germinate and get established before
frost. After frost (or after the last market or after the flowers poop out
or after I get tired of picking them, whichever comes first), I bushhog the
flowers and let the cover grow over the winter.
I get some bare spots because of frequent foot traffic in the flower field,
but the cover is usually pretty decent.
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