A plant with guts

Coming home from church last week my daughter said, “Mom, do you know those purple flowers outside the window in your office? They’re blooming!” 

I thought that it was a sign of mild weather. The large carpet of vinca minor (also called periwinkle or creeping myrtle) near the front door of the church have kept their shiny dark leaves all winter, and I have noticed a few purple flowers peeking through the greenery, too. I didn’t think anymore about it.

This Sunday, my other daughter mentioned the purple flowers. When her observation was greeted by my rather offhand mumbling, she seemed surprised. She asked if I had actually seen it. “Well, maybe not that exact one,” I said, “but there are quite a few blooms in that sheltered part of the garden.”

“Uh, mom? I didn’t mean that there is a flower outside of your office. I meant it is actually growing IN your office.”


My office is near the front door of our 20-something year old building.  It has a large, floor-to-ceiling window that lets in loads of sunlight and gives me a glimpse of the front yard gardens. Along with iris, roses, hosta and couple of large stone planters, there are two large patches of Vinca. One grows up against my office wall.

I went to my office window to investigate and found things exactly as my daughter had said: there is vinca growing in my office! It has somehow managed to burrow through the brick wall and make its way into my office. I was stunned.

I know that Vinca minor is a tough ground cover–I have some in my own backyard where it happily blooms all summer in a shady patch. According to some, it is more than tough–it’s a nuisance. Canadian Gardening Magazine listed it as one of the Top 10 Unwanted Garden Plants and some regions have even labelled it a noxious weed.

My office wall explains why, I suppose. Only a determined plant would begin the task of breaking through a brick wall  in the middle of a Canadian winter with nothing but a thin, tender shoot. Clearly, this is a plant with guts.

While I understand that such an invasive plant may present a problem when it runs roughshod over its garden neighbours, I find it hard not to admire its tenacity. It sets a fine example for those working on behalf of the poor, or even for my children as they practise the violin. Vinca not only knows how to dream big, but to work hard until that dream comes to fruition.

I haven’t told anyone about my gutsy indoor vinca, but I know it won’t be long until the story is out. I’m not sure what we will do about it, although I suspect we will have to give it an eviction notice before it causes any significant damage. I would feel badly for the little thing, but I’m sure it won’t take long to find greener pastures. I am just glad to have witnessed its great cement-busting accomplishment. Vinca minor, I am duly impressed by your major accomplishment.

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8 Responses to A plant with guts

  1. Anne says:

    Great story, but oh dear… is this an agenda item for our next meeting?

  2. I guess we will have to deal with it before too long!

  3. Bob MacMillan says:

    There are ways to do it, not particularly pernicious, just a little time consuming…

    “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it needed killin’….”

  4. dm says:

    Strikes me that this little plant is not the only thing to bust through the cement, or stone. A little like Easter morning too isn’t it?

  5. Yes, exactly! (Did you get a sneak peak to my Easter letter to the congregation?) And it remains intact because none of us seem to have the heart to pull it out. I like that.

  6. SB says:

    glad I am reading back through previous posts 🙂

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