Gardeners know the beautiful benefits of cover vegetation. Among other things, it inhibits soil erosion from surface water and shallow groundwater by regulating slopes. It extracts excess moisture from the soil while fostering cohesion among soil particles. This binding strengthens the integrity of the loam, creating a healthy foundation for other plants. In addition to utility, a discerning gardener aims for aesthetics. Few evergreen ground covers make an impression like creeping myrtle. Growing four to eight inches in height, it has gleaming green leaves sprout in pairs from long, curved stems. In the spring of the year, star-shaped blue or violet flowers appear briefly.
The term "creeping" is something of a misnomer. This vine spreads quite quickly whether fully exposed to the sun or partially shaded. As a perennial, it requires no replanting and little additional watering. Also known as periwinkle, creeping myrtle thrives under the shadows of trees and shrubs, or even on the northern side of buildings and human-made edifices. Many planters place daffodil bulbs among this evergreen cover since they often bloom simultaneously, creating a striking show of colors. The presence of periwinkle also complements Dahlias, lilies, tulips, and irises. Better yet, the improved soil bolsters the growth of these bulbs.
Those considering adding Creeping Myrtle to their verdant landscape should place rooted cuttings or more mature plants at least a foot to a foot and a half apart. During the growth phase, it may need more water than it eventually will. Additionally, some weeding and mulching will be necessary until the vine completely covers the area. If growth seems slow, lightly fertilize (10-10-10). Of course, gardeners can always propagate with cuttings. Remember, too, that this evergreen cover comes in numerous cultivars, including Bowles (blue flowers), Alba (white flowers) and Variegata (blue and yellow flowers).
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