Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ruly versus unruly vines

Because our home is 100 years old or more, most of the hardy varieties of old plants already were here long before we were. That's been an amazing blessing. Who wouldn't love moving onto two acres that had an abundance of paperwhite narcissus, hardy amaryllis, old-fashioned daylilies, spider lilies (Lycoris radiata), a Belinda's Dream rose and more?

We had a little harder time learning to love two of the three vines that already had taken deep hold: wisteria and sweet autumn clematis (Clematis ternifolia aka paniculata). The wisteria had taken over the back fence, trees and surrounding hardscapes. We fought it for years before bringing it under control. Like an unruly child, it still tries to go where it shouldn't when your back is turned. The sweet autumn clematis is lovely when in bloom, but as a vine that can grow to 30 feet tall and spring up in clumps where there once was a lawn or flower bed, it is a bit of a challenge.

The coral vine, also called Queen's Wreath (Antigonon leptopus), is a delight. It can cover a fence or climbing rose bush, as it has here, but the vines are tender and easily pulled or controlled. The pink is so vibrant it lights up everything around it.

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