Okay, I exaggerate. I don't have acres and acres. But if I did, they would be covered with pennywort.
Of course, even under optimal conditions lawns require a ton of work, especially if you have no intention of hiring someone and no interest in using chemicals. So I decided to let it go and carve out a pseudo rain garden instead. I planted winterberry holly, clethra, hibiscus, and callicarpa; some cinnamon ferns and juncus; and loads of Louisiana iris, bee balm, and turtlehead. The pennywort showed up on its own.
Most of the time it doesn't bother me. After all, for nine months out of the year there are plenty of pretty things to distract the eye. But in winter, when all that's left is that spongy sea of weeds, I loathe it.
Pennywort is not without its fans. It's native - hurray! Plant foragers and wild food aficionados tell us it's nutritious and delicious. Louis the Plant Geek highlights a variegated version that is actually quite pretty and looks great spilling out of a container. And the USDA, bless its heart, is worried about Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, which is endangered in Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. Clearly this is a plant whose time has come.
Maybe that's all I'm looking for - permission to call this invasive mess an eco-friendly groundcover. Would I change my tune if pennywort became the new "it" plant? Probably. I'm as gullible as they come where plants are concerned. Put it in a pot, give it a nice name, and stick a price tag on it. I'm there.