Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Vinca major (Bigleaf Periwinkle)

One of our smaller garden beds has a pretty green and white creeping vine that has little purplish blue flowers in the early spring to mid-summer. It was quite apparent that the vine was of the spreading nature. It had filled the garden bed and was heading down the divider between our driveway and our neighbours. Our driveway is paved but his is gravel so the vine had no problem spreading and rooting. Still it was pretty so I set out to identify whether the vine was friend or foe. At the same time I started trimming it back and asked the neighbour if he wanted it removed from his side. This is always a nice thing to do if something you have in your garden encroaches onto the neighbour's yard to ensure good neighbourly relationships.

Vinca major varigata Louden
(Big Leaf Periwinkle)

Vinca major L. is a very fast growing perennial, ornamental ground cover that has small, five petal, purplish blue flowers often referred to as Bigleaf Periwinkle. The leaves are green with creamy white edging. It is not a climber but can be draped over edges and fences to soften the look. It looks very pretty trailing over the hard edges of flower beds and retaining walls. Vinca major grows nicely in full sun to shade. This vine is low growing at 8 to 12 inches high but it is quite invasive with trailers spreading up several feet. This vine can easily take over an entire garden forming a dense mat and overwhelming other plants. However, its dense growing pattern also keeps any patches of Vinca major weed free. Vinca major is a wonderful substitute for grass because in those areas where you don't mind its spreading nature. It is rather maintenance, pest and disease free. Neither deer or rabbits will eat Vinca major. Aphids may occasionally appear on the leaves but can easily be removed using a strong spray of water. This vine is perfect for sloping areas to prevent soil erosion. In temperate areas the vine is an evergreen. Cuttings can be taken to grow in containers and hanging baskets. Vinca major is quite drought tolerant and over watering will kill the vine so be careful to not over water. It is best to water the soil rather than the plant to prevent an fungal spores present in the garden from settling on the leaves. Propagation is by cutting. If you want to remove Vinca major the best way is to manually pull it out. Do not mow it because the vine has the ability to re-sprout.

Now that I have identified this creeping vine the next decision is whether to move it to another location. It would be better to move this invasive vine to one of the confined garden beds where it can only spread as far as the surrounding hard surface barrier like the space between the house and side walk. I will also be starting a few pots of Vinca major, over winter indoors then use them in planters next spring.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Invasive is right! It even overwhelms quackgrass. I planted it next to the road, around my mailbox - now it's trying to take over the front yard and I'll be out digging it up. Pull it? I don't think so - it breaks off, leaving the main root to re-grow. Prettier than quackgrass, but just as much of a pest.


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