QUESTION: This vine (in the photo) is growing behind the boxwoods in front of our house. I’ve never seen it before. Is this something I should keep or get rid of?
Variegated Vinca major (bigleaf periwinkle) is a major pest plant.
Get rid of it, if you can. It looks like variegated bigleaf periwinkle (Vinca major), and left to grow on its on, will scramble and snake its way across everything in its path. This plant, considered an ornamental groundcover by some, was brought here from Europe more than three centuries ago.
It has pretty little blue or lavender pinwheel flowers in spring, but that’s not enough reason to keep it around. According to the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council, the vine has crept in to open and dense canopied forest, forming mats and “extensive infestations” by vines that root at the nodes. They consider it a “significant threat” in the state, and note that it’s also considered invasive in several other southern states, and in California and the Pacific Northwest.
If your “infestation” is still fairly small, I suggest pulling it up, roots and all, if you can. You’ll probably have to pull it several times before it’s all gone. I never recommend chemical controls, but you can read what TNEPPC suggests here.
One of the nice features about the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council’s web site is that they suggest alternatives for the invasive plants you might be considering for your landscape. So, instead of periwinkle, TNEPPC recommends using these natives:
Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) and Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera). Both attract bees and butterflies. Creeping phlox does best in the more acidic mountains of East Tennessee.
Several grass-like sedges make good groundcovers for shady places: Seersucker sedge (Carex plantaginea) has puckered light green leaves. Silver sedge (Carex platyphylla) has slightly puckered, light blue-green foliage. Blue wood sedge (Carex flaccosperma) has silvery blue foliage and can do well in wetter sites.
Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) is a small creeping vine with tiny, glossy, deep green leaves, pairs of white fuzzy flowers in early June, and bright red berries. It grows in shade, and needs acid soil. Birds like it.
Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea [ Senecio aureus ]) has dark, evergreen foliage that colonizes as a groundcover and yellow flowers in early spring. Attracts bees and butterflies.
Marginal Woodfern (Dryopteris marginalis) is an evergreen fern that likes shade and moist soil.
EVENTS COMING UP
This just in: The Nashville Tree Foundation has extended the deadline for entering this year’s Big Old Tree contest. You now have until April 3 to send in information about that
One of last year’s Big Old Tree winners was a Dawn redwood: 109 inches around, 80 feet tall, with a 35-foot crown spread.
big old tree in your yard, your neighbor’s yard, or anywhere in Nashville you see an awesome tree of any species. It (and you) could be awarded honors at the annual High Tree Party, which will be held April 27 – Arbor Day – at SevierPark.
Entering is easy: Download an entry form from the Nashville Tree Foundation’s web site, or enter online. You can see past winners at the web site – a good idea to check it, to make sure the tree you enter hasn’t won in the past. There are also instructions on how to measure a big tree.
Whether you enter a tree or not, you are invited to enjoy the High Tree Party, where big tree winners will be announced, the Victor Johnson Award will be presented to the tree champion of the year, and you can enjoy tree-themed snacks.
The Perennial Plant Society’s annual sale is coming back to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds April 14, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. There will be thousands of perennials for sale for sun and shade, all from Tennessee growers, so they’re adapted to our growing conditions. Admission is free, but PPSMT notes that the Fairgrounds has a $5 parking fee. To learn more, visit the PPSMT’s website www.ppsmt.org.
The Herb Society of Nashville’s annual plant sale is April 21 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. It’s 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., but get there early to browse through 15,000 herbs (including some of those hard-to-find varieties) and talk to the Answer Ladies and all the other herb fanciers who turn out for this annual event. Look for more info at the Society’s website, www.herbsocietynashville.org and Facebook page.
Cheekwood is celebrating its gardens all through April with a series of Cheekwood in Bloom events.
The 20th annual Spring Art Hop is April 7. More than 20,000 candy-filled eggs will be hidden throughout the gardens for egg hunts every half-hour. There will also be music, arts and crafts and live entertainment.
Ka-Bloom! on April 14 includes at family art activity and scavenger hunt,10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; flower arranging demonstration at 10:30 a.m.; guided tour of the Robertson Ellis Color Garden at 11 a.m. Howard Pink and his Musical Garden Hoses at noon; guided tour of the Carell Dogwood Garden at 1 p.m.; and container garden demonstration at 2 p.m.
The grand opening of the Howe Garden at Cheekwood (after a million-dollar renovation) will be April 21, with activities, live music, guided tours and refreshments,10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
In honor of national Arbor Day, April 28, there will be several drop-in activities and demonstrations. By the way, Cheekwood is now a certified Level IV arboretum, with more than 120 identified species of trees.
Every Sunday in April there will be guided greenhouse tours at noon; guided museum tours at 1 p.m.; and a drawing room concert series featuring Blair School of Music at 2 p.m.
Complete details on Cheekwood in Bloom are at Cheekwood’s web site.
Filed under: Cheekwood Botanical Garden, Garden Events, Groundcovers, Invasive plants, Native plants, Plant pests, Uncategorized, Vines, Weeds | Leave a Comment »