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Trouble in my garden,


Firstly, a warning. However pretty they look in the Garden Centre, please, please do not be tempted! It does not take long for them to spread and spread and root as they go.

What are they? VINCAS!!!!

This one is ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and I have another one with
pale mauve flowers, just as much of a ‘spreader’.

The other real menace is another similar plant which also clings to trees, walls or anything really as well as weaving its way through my precious plants. I suspect you’ve guessed that it’s IVY!

It clings to walls and fences, and is a total, utter horror!
I am trying to get rid of it (but there’s SO much of it!)

Can you see the box ball near the front door?The photo is at the end…sorry.

Well…it isn’t there any more.

One day I noticed it had what seemed to be small webs all over it, and looking more closely, lots and lots of tiny green wriggling caterpillars!!!

They were gobbling the leaves as fast as they could! I went in to find out what they were. They were called ‘Box Moths’ and there wasn’t much hope of saving the shrub. My husband dug it out (with great difficulty!) and then I was confronted by a huge mass of roots. It took me several long sessions to get them out sufficiently enough to replant the area.

Enough of troubles. What gives me great pleasure in my garden is PROJECTS! I love planning an area, and creating something beautiful.

That’s why I showed you the photo of my pot, all planted up. Other joys are my hanging baskets, which are on a frame on a square of blue lias slabs. I’m not allowed to fasten them to the house, as it’s listed.

This blog is about troubles, so I won’t talk about triumphs – they can wait for another time……

More blog posts by spritzhenry

Previous post: Oh dear!

Next post: Some of my roses.



Hi Barbara, nice to hear from you again :) I come on here in fits and starts these days ...

I'm sorry about your box shrub, will you be replacing it ?
I have a few Vincas but they're confined to pots. I don't think they look nice in the ground, they go too straggly.

I like projects in the garden too, and creating a beautiful area. I'll be doing a lot of that this year. What projects have you planned ?

20 Mar, 2024


nice to hear from you Spritz. I have Gertrude too, kindly given to me by you. She is now getting out of hand so has become a thug. Enjoying pulling it out though. So has Jenny Pym but it is at the back of a border and is so far not really causing problems. [yet]

I also have too much Ivy.
Shame about the box. Its a horrid little moth caterpillar but such a pretty moth.

20 Mar, 2024


Hi Barbara, thank you for the warning about Vinca. I have another (unexpected) warning ... last year I enjoyed the small shrub Erysimum Red Jup. It has spread massively and if I leave all the small "offshoots" the entire bed could be covered. So I will dig up what I can and offer them to anyone with a large space that they want to fill.

I'll put up a photo ...

20 Mar, 2024


I saw the mauve Vinca sprawling through some hedging on an out of town retail park recently. It is pretty, but only in the right place!

20 Mar, 2024


Good to see you have joined us again, Spritz! Your pot looks really beautiful! It's shame what happened to you Box shrub, I suppose you won't be getting another one to take its place, will you? What have you planted in its place?

20 Mar, 2024


I have my favourite rose, "Rhapsody in Blue', a purple Salvia and lots of pansies.

Yes, I really enjoy planting up the pot. It was a great 'find' at the reclamation yard! I was so lucky to find a perfect pedestal for the pot.

Hywel, apparently the box moth is a pest in our area, and it's spreading to other areas, too!

Oops, Seaburn, apologies!!

21 Mar, 2024


I finally dug out my vinca difformis as I found them too rampant. I still grow a couple of vinca minor, taking them back to one or two crowns in early spring

22 Mar, 2024


I am glad you have yours under control, Andrew

23 Mar, 2024


Lovely planted up pot. I have 2 Vincas, one in a pot, so under control & one against house wall,so no where to spread really. I agree they can be very rampant. I do like them though.

23 Mar, 2024


Hi Spritzhenry, I'm sorry you've had such trouble with the vinca. My neighbours on one side have the purplish blue one, it's up on the bund hill, it has grown in that direction. So, we're fortunate. It looks good up there, hopefully, blocking out the bramble growth which can be prolific.
I'm sorry about your beautiful big box! We have several. I'm going to be keeping an eye open for these dratted moths then!

23 Mar, 2024


I have a Vinca in my front garden which I have been trying to get rid of for the last five years. It is a lovely large flowered blue one and would like it, if it would just behave itself!
Your pot looks wonderful!
I am sorry about your box and you could maybe replace it with another low growing shrub which you could make into a hedge.

24 Mar, 2024


These things come to try us, I too have ivy, vinca and worst of all is St Johns Wort, I feel your frustration Spritz...Your pot looks absolutely lovely....

24 Mar, 2024


Ivy is a bane in my garden too, Spritz, both a wild one that has 'emigrated' from the local woods into my conifer and beech hedges and an large leafed ornamental one that a previous owner planted over 25 years ago. I have toiled for over 20 of those years to eradicate both, haven't resorted to weedkiller because we have inquisitive dogs but it has become very tempting ;-)
I saw how invasive vinca can be in a neighbour's garden so when offered a piece I planted it in a 'Winter' hanging basket beside my front door, its blue flowers provide a balance to the yellow which dominates my front garden in early Spring.
I can imagine your heartbreak to see your box decimated by caterpillars, they have the upper hand in our area too. I dreamed of edging my veg patch with low growing box, so glad I didn't although I would still like to edge it with something similar, just not sure what, lol.
It is lovely to see you posting here again, I've returned after quite a long break and am delighted to see familiar names among all the new ones. I admire and am inspired by your green fingers, please keep your posts coming.

30 Mar, 2024


Xela - I had to replace box and chose ilex crenata. Although it looks similar, it couldn't tolerate a hot, dry summer and most if it died. I'm now trying euonymus 'Green Spire'

31 Mar, 2024

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