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Anne K Moore
Photograph courtesy All-America Selections

I like to accent my front yard borders with annuals for color. I use violas in the fall and winter and daffodils and sometimes tulips in early spring. For summer, I prefer a subdued color palette of black and white. My first year with these so-called non-colors, I used white Wave Petunias and Blackie Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine.

The effect was striking – for about a month. Turns out the White Waves were not as vigorous as I had hoped but oh, how Blackie loved the front yard.. and the driveway, and the grass. I spent all summer cutting Blackie back and trying to keep him from overrunning the white petunias.

Since then, I have gone to mostly white. My favorite no work annual for a sunny, somewhat dry site is vinca, also known as periwinkle. It blossoms all summer without any help from me. It requires no deadheading and no watering, except in extreme dry periods, and definitely no trimming back.

Now, along comes a plant that should be perfect for my front garden beds. I cannot wait to try it out. It is a new vinca color that is so deep purple it’s almost black. It is a 2012 AAS (All America Selection) Flower Award winner, Vinca 'Jams 'N Jellies Blackberry' (Catharanthus roseus). Just the name makes me drool. I can see it now, my black and white scheme finally looking well tended without any tending from me. Oh, joy!

I hope that there will be Vinca 'Jams 'N Jellies Blackberry' plants available at garden centers all over the U.S. this spring. I’m not taking any chances, though. I am growing it from seeds planted indoors just this week. The seeds can be found at many of the seed houses on the internet.

Vinca (periwinkle) is a tender perennial grown as an annual in most areas of the country. At ten to twenty-four inches tall, it makes a great bedding plant in the garden and an accent in containers. It is an easy bloom machine for busy gardeners with non-stop blossoms from summer to frost.

For more information on Vinca 'Jams 'N Jellies Blackberry', go to: All-America Selections.

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By Kerry Meyer for Proven Winners
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners

Summer is the perfect time to gather friends and family together for a backyard barbeque and a game of horseshoes. Now if there was only something you could do about the hole in the garden where the dog buried his bone, the kids trampled the petunias, or that great spring plant suddenly gave up its will to live… Or maybe you’d like to freshen up the containers by your front entryway. If you are like many people, you might assume that since the heat of summer has settled in, you will just have to live with what you have.

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