General Discussion:

Periwinkle groundcover


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
AJ11-Mar-03 01:15 PM EST 5a   
Susan11-Mar-03 03:38 PM EST 6a   
PatA12-Mar-03 11:03 AM EST 3a   
JoanneS12-Mar-03 12:41 PM EST 3a   
PatA12-Mar-03 02:11 PM EST 3a   
AJ14-Mar-03 11:11 AM EST 5a   
Bill14-Mar-03 12:56 PM EST 5a   
AJ14-Mar-03 01:52 PM EST 5a   
Susan14-Mar-03 08:48 PM EST 6a   
PatA15-Mar-03 12:25 AM EST 3a   
Susan15-Mar-03 08:37 AM EST 6a   
AJ15-Mar-03 07:26 PM EST 5a   


Subject: Periwinkle groundcover
From: AJ
Zone: 5a
Date: 11-Mar-03 01:15 PM EST

I have a large area of lawn that I want to convert this year to save on mowing. It is the sunny south side of my house and the soil is somewhat sandy. I want to get rid of my grass and in its place plant Perwinkle groundcover, along with occasional shrubs for interest. It is recommended that you plant them 10" apart, which will mean I will have to buy a lot of plants. Before I make this investment, does anyone have any opinions on Periwinkle? Suggestions? Thanks.


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 11-Mar-03 03:38 PM EST

Only plant periwinkle if you never want to plant a flower garden there - it's a devil to get rid of once you have it! It's also a shade plant so it might not like the sun from a southern exposure. Why not try something like wooly thyme instead? Likes sunny, hot, dryish conditions, forms low, creeping gray-greem wooly mat that can take light foot traffic and smells nice! Creeping thyme would also work although it's a little taller and woodier so would be a bit tougher to later remove and is not quite as amenable to foot traffic. It does have pretty pink flowers though.


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: PatA
Zone: 3a
Date: 12-Mar-03 11:03 AM EST

Excellent suggestions Susan. A couple of other plants to try in LIGHT traffic areas - creeping phlox, alpine veronica (veronica amoena) ajuga (this can be a bit invasive) All 3 flower nicely and will work in sun/dry areas. By the way AJ, good on you for pulling out your lawn! Not only will you save on mowing but after they get established the plants Susan and I listed are drought tolerant so you will save on water too! You will probably get more people stopping and commenting about it than a lawn. A great way to meet fellow gardeners! :-)


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: JoanneS (jstraayer@specialty.ab.ca)
Zone: 3a
Date: 12-Mar-03 12:41 PM EST

I love my periwinkle. I have an area in the shade on the side of my house and put in a variegated variety two years ago. It is coming in slow, but looks lovely. The only issue I have is that it makes removal of fall leaves interesting. If I had a leaf blower, that would probably do the trick.


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: PatA
Zone: 3a
Date: 12-Mar-03 02:11 PM EST

JoanneS, No denying periwinkle is a lovely plant however for AJ's sandy south location it's not a good choice. As far as leaf removal, have you tried to raise your mower as far as it goes and then go over the periwinkle with the bag on your mower. It is kinda like an outdoor vacuum. Works pretty good if the leaves are dry. If your periwinkle is too high this won't work. Wait for the sound of a leaf blower in your neighbourhood and then follow it. Offer them something in trade and see if they will share! :-)


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: AJ
Zone: 5a
Date: 14-Mar-03 11:11 AM EST

Wow, your comments have been so helpful! Thanks so much! I didn't realize periwinkle was better in shade - I have a spot behind my garage I think I'll try it in (the variegated sounds great). But as for my south side location, I will research the groundcovers you suggested. I want something attractive & inviting, in contrast to my big lawn!


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: Bill
Zone: 5a
Date: 14-Mar-03 12:56 PM EST

I planted clover in a section of my lawn - the exact variety does not come to mind at the moment - but it was a low growing variety.

I was hoping not to have to mow that area, but it seems the clover is not low growing enough. Yes, I still do have to mow, and about at the same frequency as with the rest of the lawn.

It does however, stay nice and green, even in dry spells when the rest of the lawn turns brown.

Raking the leaves is this area is no longer very practical - but the lawnmower mulcher does work just fine.

Susan, the wooly thyme sounds like a great option for me to expand the non-grass area. Would I need to plant "plants" or could i start this from seed directly in the area.

I often see instructions on replacing lawn that involve removing the grass first. I do not know about anyone else but this is not practical for large areas. What I would love to be able to do is to overseed the existing grass with a lowgrowing groundcover from seed. Am I dreaming in technicolour?


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: AJ
Zone: 5a
Date: 14-Mar-03 01:52 PM EST

Bill - I also have alot of clover in my lawn. It does stay green as you said but requires equal maintenance as lawn. Plus groundhogs love to eat it! I am planning on removing my lawn as soon as the snow melts, that way it will be damp & should come off much easier than it would later on.

I also like the idea of woolly thyme to plant in my garden paths, to grow in between pieces of slate. However, I'd like a taller, flowering groundcover for areas outside the paths - like periwinkle!

I looked again at the instructions for growing periwinkle and it says "Full sun to full shade, shade best where summers are hot." (Better Homes & Gardens) Summer is not that bad here, so I am wondering if I could get away with periwinkle in full sun?? As far as my sandy soil goes, I can improve it some after I remove the grass. Do you think I could get away with it?


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 14-Mar-03 08:48 PM EST

While periwinkle can supposedly be grown in sun, any I've seen in full sun looks scrawny and unhappy relative to the stuff in shade.

The taller creeping thyme might suit if you want taller forms. It produces lots of tiny pink flowers; when it is in bloom, it's a pink carpet - very pretty. For a bit taller plant, can you grow lavender? I have lavender growing as a groundcover on a south facing bank that is hot and dry and it loves it there. It only gets about 10-12" tall at most. The flowers are very nice; the gray foliage is interesting too and is almost evergreen (evergray?) for me.

Bill - thymes usually grow quickly from seed but you'd be better off with plants I think - can you stat seed indoors now for planting out later - i.e. do you have light and space for seedling pots?


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: PatA
Zone: 3a
Date: 15-Mar-03 12:25 AM EST

Just a quick note to all, wooly thyme is grown from cuttings only but creeping thyme can be grown from seed. Both if purchased as plugs(2inch pots) spread fast or I have also taken 4 inch pots and divided into four to get more plant for my buck. In about one or two good growing seasons both will be about 12inches across per plant. If you seed it in a bedding tray (no pots) let it fill in completely and then slice in sections like a tray of brownies and plant these out. Much easier to handle then individual plants. Your soil mix should be quite sandy.

By the way we're on a roll plus 10C today and melting everywhere! You should see the puddles at every intersection. Looks like even AB will get spring this year :-) Night All


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 15-Mar-03 08:37 AM EST

If you want to try wooly thyme from seed, you can buy the seed from Fragrant Flora in BC - go to:

http://www.sunshine.net/www/1700/sn1787/catper.html

We're supposed to get warmer today to but I'll believe it when I feel it!:) It's still below 0 at 8:30....


Subject: RE: Periwinkle groundcover
From: AJ
Zone: 5a
Date: 15-Mar-03 07:26 PM EST

Susan~ the lavender sounds like an excellent suggestion!! It sounds like it may be just what I am looking for...I will do some research on it. Thanks so much!


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