Vinca is an annual or a perennial, and how to care for it.

There are many reasons to enjoy periwinkle.It has a beautiful blue or white spring flower, and small leaves that work well with perennial plants and shrubs.myrtle is a broadleaf evergreen that has glossy leaves in the winter.It is fast growing, making a six-inch (15- cm) thick weed-suppressing mat, rooting from junctures in its long tendrils as they spread along the ground.

I am growing periwinkle in a bed surrounded by a lawn on one side and a stone path on the other side.It is a nuisance weed for my neighbours and cannot escape from the landscape.Because it grows so quickly and makes a dense mat, it should not be planted near woodlands or natural landscapes.A gardener won't allow periwinkle to become an invader.

The sun doesn't seem to affect the growth of periwinkle.After removing a large beech tree in the front garden, the periwinkle underneath now has a full day of sun and lots more growth.Perennials, such as two clumps of perennial peas, weren't able to fight their way through the dense mat of stems and leaves because it suppressed the weeds.

Every second or third year, I try to control the periwinkle.I cut the clumps that were close to the crowns at one side of the bed.The tendrils can easily be ripped out.I remove about three-quarters of the stems and leaves, but it seems to give the other Perennials a fighting chance for a couple of years.It takes about an afternoon to thin out and set the stage for spring flowers.It seems like certain strangulation for any mower I own if I read suggestions to low mow periwinkle every couple of years.

I could replace the green periwinkle with a less vigorous one called 'Ralph Shugert', which is white-edged leaves and grows at a slower pace than its cousin.I could grow the plant with less vigorous growth and double blue rosettes.It would be better to go for a bolder choice, like 'Illumination', with blue flowers and golden yellow leaves, each edging with dark green.It would be like having 100 watt light bulbs in the garden bed.These plants will not escape to become a rampant nuisance.It is something to think about.I will thin the periwinkle and be grateful the thistles have been stopped.

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Judith Adam is a horticulturist, landscape designer and author of several best-selling gardening books.She lives in Toronto.

I love the trailing nature of the vinca plant, so I bought some for my pots.It is in the middle of my Euonymus bush which is also variegated and has happily returned every year for the past 4 years.These plants are good for my house because they fill hard to grow places under trees and keep it looking good, without having to trim grass or take out dead plants from under the trees.