Monday, April 19, 2010

an annual that's not

A couple of three years ago Pat had some vinca vines in a flower box on the deck rail. The vines did so good that the vines touched the ground. That's about 8 feet and the vines looked really cool, hanging gardens of Babylon cool. Somehow the vines took root and started growing from the ground. Now in zone 5b this type of vinca is an annual. The first good frost and our annuals turn to green mush. These guys kept coming back. In fact, they stay green through the winter. They are green when the snow covers them in December and green when the snow melts in March. It is a wonderment. Pat says that there must be some kind of micro-climate next to the deck or something. Now for the big question. What do you do with a vine that grows on the ground? We've been ignoring the what to do and just marveling at the plants resilience.


I finally decided to do something about my plant ignorance. When I started working in the yard I had no intention of becoming a "gardener." After all, gardeners know what they are talking about. This is me, I never know what I'm talking about. I used to call it anarchist gardening. Finding a gardening home through Blotanical made me realize that I needed to improve my craft. I've actually paid attention to all you gardeners who have given me advice and guidance. I don't know where this tome stands in the must have garden book list. But it is BIG and it has lots of pictures for me to look at.

16 comments:

Christine B. said...

I saw that tome at the bookstore and was tempted to pick it up. What do you think of it? Worth the money? I suppose one can never have too many garden books.... Neat that the vine overwintered for you when it wasn't supposed to, love it when that happens.

Christine in Alaska

Edith Hope said...

Dear Jim, I think that you are being rather modest and I am sure that you know a great deal more about gardening than you are suggesting here!! As for the vine, I think that I should do as you are doing, and leave well alone.

Unfortunately, I shall be unable to comment or post for the next ten days or so. But, I shall be back!

grandgardener said...

Hey, I've got that book! It's a good one! I also have that vinca with a similar story. In Michigan it seems hardier than most perennials. It's nice with pretty much any other ground cover. I like it with periwinkle.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Well, if that's Vinca major (big leaf Periwinkle), around here, we pull it! In California at least, it's invasive, and has smothered many native plant communities in our local area woodlands. The only problem with pulling it, is it can resprout from rootstock, making it difficult to control. That's probably why your annual isn't an annual. If the roots aren't damaged by winter cold, they will re-emerge in spring.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Jim. Isn't it wonderful. I am constantly learning from Blotanical gardeners.
I have that variegated vinca too Jim. I bought it one year and it rooted where it touched the ground around the garage slope. The roots live even when the leaves die out. It has bigger blue flowers than the smaller evergreen vinca.
It comes up every year now at the garage and I dig up pieces of it to use in planters in the summer.ell not have to buy it ever again LOL!

Is the Wiz said...

We just use vinca as groundcover here, but now you've got me thinking.
Looked back at previous posts and saw your query on quince.If you train it horizontally that encourages more flowers and you'll see why its common name here is japonica.

Meredith said...

Jim, all I know is that vinca is wild here, and even the more refined versions can turn out to be a bit thuggish in the garden. My sis is contemplating putting in a white-edged one, like yours, in the very back of a wooded property where it has a huge chunk of space to cover -- and hesitating because even then it might get out of control. "Hanging gardens of Babylon cool" sounds so wonderful, though, and I'd probably be so enchanted by the sight that I'd keep it going forever in that microclimate by the deck -- and worry about it developing thuggish tendencies when and if that day ever comes!

Jim Groble said...

Lona and grandgardener,
It looks like north of the Ohio River this guy masquerades as an annual and the garden centers play along.

Christine B, I've paged through the book. It's a keeper but hard to read in bed.

Wiz, Thanks for the info on the quince.

Meredith and Curbstone.
Just goes to show you how different conditions bring different outcomes.

Edith, I hope all is well. I'll be waiting for your next post.

Sylvana said...

Books like this one are a great place to get started. I like to have a few of them around even with the expanse of the internet at my fingertips.

Sarah said...

Anarchist gardening, I love it!

Sara Chapman said...

Jim, vinca is NOT an annual. Not only is it perennial, it is an invasive pest. I would advise digging it up now while it is still relatively contained and you can, and enjoying it in a container only.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi former Chicagoan! I had a hard time finding you but glad I did.

I have got that book right next to me on the couch, how close can you get?

Eileen

Annie said...

Thanks for the heads up on the book. My copy arrived today. Can't wait to dig into it.

Annie said...

Any suggestions for a pocket sized reference that can be carried to the garden center?

joey said...

Love the photo of you and 'big blue', enough to say ... it's been a joyful 1st visit :)

Jess said...

Here both vinca major and vinca minor are invasive... and are definitely not annuals. I'd just keep it containerized somewhere and it should be fine.