The plant of the month for March is Vinca, better known as the periwinkle and a fantastic choice for covering the ground with a carpet of sky blue, star-shaped flowers from spring onwards. Even better, its attractive glossy foliage is evergreen, spreading into a handsome year-round backdrop for other plants and at the same time suppressing weeds and locking moisture in the ground.
There are two main types. Vinca major is a very vigorous, rapid-spreading ground cover which romps over the ground and is great for covering large areas. But for most gardens, Vinca minor (the lesser periwinkle) is the better choice: a smaller, more dainty version of its larger cousin, it quickly knits into a dense mat when planted in groups around 30cm apart.
Vinca is very easy-going, enjoying sun or part shade and happy in any garden soil. It makes a lovely underplanting for spring bulbs like snowdrops or crocus, extending the season well into summer – you should get flowers here and there later in the year, too.
There are plenty of good-looking cultivars to choose from: 'Atropurpurea' has dark plum-purple flowers, while 'Gertrude Jekyll' is pure white. 'Argenteovariegata' has sky blue flowers with the added bonus of prettily variegated leaves, each margined in creamy white.