Saturday, May 9, 2015

Irresistible Invasives

Drinking my tenth cup of coffee at 7 am, perched on the back porch steps, I'm anticipating another season of thwacking at the vines that have been strangling my garden for 30-odd, emphasis on the odd. I wrote the following several years ago and haven't had a better thought on the subject since:

Apart from the pathetic wisteria that gallops across the roof of the garage, the trumpet vine was the dumbest idea for my bathtub sized garden.

I first saw it many years ago, in Rehoboth Beach, announcing a restaurant entrance.

What an exotic transition I thought it announced from the hurly burly scene on the street where the halter-topped and coconut scented beach-goers wandered, dripping pizza and ice cream. Being as this was so early on in my gardening, um, career, I had no idea what it was except that it looked fabulously tropical and was heavy with flowers and my id cried out I WANT ONE. 

Amazingly, it took years to find in a garden center. I don't know if this was because the trumpet vine was once uncommon or if it had been in garden centers all along but I hadn't noticed -- or if the wise purveyors of plants knew that this was a rascal, a mad weed capable of smothering everything in its path -- dueling only with the mighty wisteria for dominance; King Kong vs. Godzilla vs. the tulip.

It is clearly called invasive in every article I've read after I bought and planted it.

What is it about the word invasive that I consistently choose to ignore? Ha, I say to myself, invasive for someone else perhaps. Not me. Like, everyone else will eventually romp in Elysian Fields except for...hey, I'll miss (some) of you! That was an aside. 
wisteria snarled with white flower vine & honeysuckle

My four year old trumpet vine is just now coming into bloom, which might be nice if one could see it. The "thought" was that it would grow on the wall behind the cherry tree--oh wait, that was another wrong move--and climb up the wonderfully curlicued wrought iron arch that I would show you except that it's smothered in vines and might as well be a couple of sticks and some wire, and the cherry is so enormous that the only way I could take this photo was by precariously leaning over the back porch rail and sticking the camera through the branches of the rose of sharon.

I imagine the vine is very pretty on the other side of the wall, where our neighbors can enjoy it. 

On the other hand, there was no difficulty finding a wisteria, which we planted our first summer in the house.  Our neighbor Pat had one over her garage, fabulously full, dripping purpley, and so softly and delightfully scented that it never provoked nausea.

Cannily siting ours in a location identical to hers, we have waited 27 yeas for it to do more than snicker and spit forth a couple of blooms a season.

We've tried Epsom salts and hacking off roots and pruning and not pruning and, nada.  What we do see, are wisteria shoots every-damn-ware. They tangle with the honeysuckle and the white flower vine and the ivy, shoot up to choke the roses, and slither along underground to pop up and throttle the jasmine.

The one positive is that galloping-over-the-garage-roof habit it has, sending foamy waves of green skyward from early spring until late fall and so obscuring the ladders and columns and chimney caps and other whatnots that have taken, it appears, root. 

I rarely notice these scattered remains of Princely projects anymore, but a few years ago my sister Jeanie came to see the blooming of the cherry blossoms--which precedes the greening of the wisteria--and we were sitting in the second floor greenhouse, having tea and crumpets (that sounds nice, but is probably untrue) and she gazed out the window and said "What the Hell is that?"

"What?" I said, pinky extended.

"All that crap," she said, sweeping her arm past the view of ladders and etc.

"That's our garage roof," I said.  "Greg's...spare parts."

"That's DISGUSTING," she said. "What a view for the neighbors."

And she tromped off to flay the culprit.

Now I could never get away with this. Well, I could bring it up but life wouldn't be worth living for a day or a week. Thankfully Jeanie is older and therefore venerable and therefore able to get away with tongue lashings.

He did take her rant to heart, bless him, and off he skipped to half of one couple of afflicted neighbors, the wife of the congressman from some rural area of Kentucky or North Carolina or Arkansas...and he asked her if she was offended by the stuff stored on top of our garage.

And damned if she didn't say, "No."

"You were here first," she said, adding that they didn't feel they had the right to impose -- further, she confided, "My husband enjoys sitting at the kitchen table in the morning, watching you load your truck and puttering in your garage. He misses that simple life."

Well bah on them and pass the corn pone.

1 comment:

  1. Don't people understand that encouraging him does no one any favors??


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