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A walk along an urban trail is an education in diversity. You'll pass people of many nationalities and dress with one thing in common: they need exercise outdoors. You may notice that the plant world along the way is also inhabited by species from far away places. Vinca, an evergreen ground cover vine that now inhabits much of North America, is actually native to parts of Europe, North Africa and western Asia. The name was probably derived from a Latin word meaning "to bind." Certainly, as a ground cover, it is very effective for erosion control. In addition, David MacKenzie in Perennial Ground Covers says the tough runners used to be twisted together to form rope. The trailing, vine-like plant is in the Dogbane family, along with Bluestar (Amsonia spp.), Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum), Confederate Jasmine (T. jasminoides) and Mandevilla. Mature height as a ground cover is usually from 8" to 18". The runners root as they go. Flowers may be blue, white or burgundy, depending upon the cultivar. Vinca prefers moist soil in partial shade to full shade, but will also tolerate sun and drought. It is deer resistant. Two species of Vinca are commonly available: Vinca major and Vinca minor. Vinca major is so named because the flowers and leaves are larger and the runners longer than Vinca minor. Its common name is Bigleaf Periwinkle. Leaves are oval, green or variegated, 1" wide and approximately 2" long. Simple flowers are up to 2" diameter. It is reliably hardy in USDA climate zones 6 through 9. Recommended soil pH is 5.6 to 7.8. In addition to its effectiveness as a ground cover, it is a fine subject for hanging baskets. Plant 8" to 12" Vinca minor is commonly known as dwarf periwinkle, creeping myrtle, or death myrtle. V. minor does contain toxic substances, but MacKenzie says that "during the Middle Ages, the heads of criminals who were to be executed were adorned with stems of V. minor, hence the Italian name Fiore di morte (flower of death)." Foliage is about 3/4" wide and 1" long. Mature height is less than V. major; about 4". Evergreen foliage is deep green and shiny. It is fine for erosion control in medium-sized areas provided that water does not flow with such force that the plants are dislodged before established. Vinca minor is hardy in USDA climate zones 4 through 8. Recommended soil pH is 6.1 to 7.8. Plant 6" to 12" apart. Vinca does well in shallow soil, even where tree roots make it impossible to cultivate. But if possible, prepare the planting bed by cultivating at least 4" deep, removing all traces of weeds. Composted manure may be incorporated into the soil. Fertilizer may be used. If you choose to do so, incorporate 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of no more 2 lbs. per 100 square feet into the top 4" of soil. Avoid synthetic fertilizers contacting any part of your plants. Vinca can be planted any time you have a shovel handy, even bare root plants. It is very tough. Nevertheless, you should water occasionally until the plants become established to avoid drought stress. Maintenance is minimal. Vinca has few pest and disease problems, and tolerates poor soil. Because it is so common, some folks think that Vinca is over-used, even invasive. But I don't agree; I'm all about diversity. It does what a ground cover is supposed to do; it covers ground. Vinca is popular because it is effective, attractive, and requires little or no maintenance. Return to Vinca at goGardenNow.com. Posted by John Marshall at 7:48 AM 0 comments Links to this post Labels: drought tolerant plants, ground covers, low maintenance perennial, vinca
Bee Balm is the perfect companion for obedient plant. The flowers look great together in the garden and in the vase. This perennial offers colorful clusters of red, pink, lavender, violet, or white flowers in summer. It's a favorite of hummingbirds. Zones 3-9
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A gourmet feast even more deliciously smooth. With a 24 hour moisturising effect thanks to a milkshake of 8 plant milks and a new star active ingredient, Salicornia. A smoothie of almond and orange white flowers, aloe vera sap and allantoin combines powerful softnening powers, perfectly adapted to sensitive skins. The skin is left feeling fresh, soft and replumped. £25.00
Invest in some pure essential oils from the health food store – Next, disinfect and deodorize your washing machine so that your clothes will not absorb a lingering musty smell. You can do this pretty easily by pouring two cups of vinegar into your machine, and run a full cycle — without any clothes or detergent. If your water is very dirty, let the agitator run for 8-10 minutes, open the lid and let the vinegar sit overnight. In the morning, empty the basin and run the washer through a complete cycle with two cups of vinegar. Do this every six months to eliminate soap scum, and musty smells. Basic soaps: Stock your laundry room with Borax, Epsom Salts, distilled white vinegar (not apple cider vinegar), and for tough stains, plain, unscented Tide Detergent and Oxy Clean. If you have a high efficiency washer, skip the Borax and buy only the unscented HE deterge rent powder. Borax creates too much “suds,” the major failure of HE washers. Scent your laundry: Open your jug of distilled white vinegar, and drop in 30-40 drops of your favorite essential oil. French laundry mistresses have used lavender for centuries. Let the oils permeate the vinegar for about a week before using. Open your box of Borax, (or HE detergent if you have an HE washer) and pour the powder into a clean empty container with a lid. (An empty oxy-clean bucket will work.) Drop 20-30- drops of essential oils into the Borax, and stir thoroughly to mix the scents. Cover and let the scents mix for about a week before using. Basic laundry soap: If you have a regular top loading washer (one that doesn’t require HE soap), for each load, add ½ of the amount of detergent you usually use, combined with the other half of Borax. If I’m washing whites, I’ll also add a ½ cup of oxy clean. (Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer.) Add 1/2 cup of scented vinegar to each load along with the detergent. It fights germs, keeps your colors from bleeding, and deodorizers your laundry. Use your scented vinegar in place of your fabric softener in the Rinse Cycle to eliminate static cling, remove pet hair and complete dissolve and rinse away soap. To get REALLY white whites – -try this. Fill your washing machine with hot water and one or two cups of oxy clean. Add your laundry and let the machine agitate. Then, lift the lid and let the laundry soak in the oxy clean water overnight. In the morning, let the wash run itself through. Buy some doggie toys at the grocery store — the kind with balls and pokey things, for about $1.00. Use those as dryer balls (that sell for about $20). They do help lift the laundry and help things dry faster — I also throw one in the washer. Ring around the color: Make a paste with 2 parts white vinegar to 3 parts baking soda, and let set for 20-30 minutes. Picked up a plastic-coated wire and made a new clothesline. Sleeping on a pillow line-dried in fresh air is as warm and cozy as a chocolate chip cookie. If you haven’t indulged in this little luxury lately, I think it’s time you tried it again – if your local authorities will allow it.
When I have time...