Saturday, February 20, 2010

English Ivy and Vinca major

Some time ago, when another gardener had possession of this yard, she planted these ground covers. I'm sure she never expected or intended them to take over the entire neighborhood. In the almost 20 years since she's lived here, it has spread to cover more than an acre of woodlands. When I purchased the house, I knew it was there. I should have turned and run. I thought I was up to the challenge. Over the past two years, I've done a good job of slowly moving the edge of the yard back to where it may have once been. This coming week, I'm hoping to take another large bite out of one, possible two areas.

The first is the area behind the meadow. If I'm to plant anything along the "path" I've created there, I have to remove the Vinca major that covers the ground. I'd like to plant my Miss Huff cuttings. This area receives nearly full day sun in summer and dries out considerably without normal rainfall. I'll scatter some of the 125 rudbeckias here too.

Here's a closeup of the full area. Already, there are some shrub cuttings that were rooted and planted last spring. Butterfly bushes from wintersown seed have struggled here. I doubt I'll save any of it aside from the one rooted gardenia. I may move it to a more hospitable place.

The second area that needs to be tackled is the gully proper. I've already removed considerable privet from this area. Euonymus and English Ivy take up most of this space. There's a row of nandinas that grow in and out of the broken, stacked concrete retaining wall someone built ages ago. Bats make their residence here in the summer. I don't want to disturb them, in case they are hibernating.

I know I can't tackle all of this area, given that the Ivy covers everything all the way to the street, but I want to get a start on it. I might need to bring in the heavy chemicals for this one. We'll see how the other area goes first, since I'm not even sure what to do with this space yet.

Whenever I run across someone thinking of planting this in our area, I always advise against it. I beg them to come take what they want from my yard rather than purchase such a significantly invasive plant. They just laugh. Give them 5 years. They'll be back asking how to kill this stuff.

1 comment:

gld said...

Tom, I have both, vinca major and minor! Our house is built on a berm on the west side so it actually works pretty well on that berm which would erode badly without it, but I can't keep it on that side......I thought I had it killed out on the south side where I am working on a foundation bed.
In touring the yard yesterday I see I have a spot about 4-foot square just as green as can be.

I brought in the major. That was in a magazine at the base of a tree and I thought it looked wonderful. That stuff even climbs up through shrubs. I just mow it to keep it under control.

I won't get into the henbit and Bermuda grass....that is a whole 'nother story.

Good luck!