Stranglehold Decision

This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, Resilient.

Here she is, my wisteria vine.  She’s a bit naked at this moment, but the absence of her abundant (read overwhelming) foliage really lets me see just how persistent and actually strangling she has become.  I’m really trying to decide if I should keep her or if I really need to just throw in the towel.

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In my mind’s eye, she graces the stairway railing with flowing cascades of blossoms each spring.  Lovely lavender (I’m guessing) ponytails of fragrance dancing over the edge of the railing.

She has never, not even once, lived up to the floral expectations I so loftily placed on her.  I found her about 15 years ago, and knew it would take years before this young vine would be established enough to bloom.  After about 5 years of waiting, I decided to read up on the care of the wisteria vine.

The year after I realized that she needed to be pruned in order to bloom, she did produce what seemed to be the perfect amount of bloom buds.

I was so excited and could not wait for her to bloom that year.  It was pretty early in the season, and the baby buds perished when the weather turned frosty in April that year.  I was devastated for I simply forgot all about her as I scurried to save all the early bloomers with bedsheets that evening.  She really hasn’t produced any blooms since.

The vine is pretty overwhelming in the summer, and the vines are getting pretty hefty around the new posts of our two-year-old deck.  It’s true – I had to chop her completely to the ground the year we extended the deck.  But she came back, stronger than ever.

A truly resilient vine.

I do think she needs to go, though.  The shield of privacy she provides is simply not worth the apparent stress she is placing on the railing she is using for support.  Not only that, but she really leaves a mess along the stairwell.  And she’s minimizing the actual space we have to climb up and down the steps to the pool.

I’m thinking a lightweight clematis would most likely be a bit more fitting for this location.  I’m so sorry, Miss Wisteria, but I think this story is writing its final chapter.

What we have heeah – is failure to communicate

Lost in thought on my way to town this morning.  Most mornings, I get in the car, say my morning prayers, and flip on the radio to quiet the drone that are my racing thoughts.  Some mornings I don’t flip on the radio and actually listen to the thoughts.  I keep a notebook in the car for these mornings, because the thoughts are really worth noting and I’ll forget them all by the time I enter the parking garage.

Notes from this morning included “wisteria”, “trumpet vine”, “english ivy”, “evening primrose”.

One evening last week, I coerced my daughter to join me at the middle school for the annual Greenfest.  One of the new events at Greenfest was a perennial exchange.  I was so excited – I went straight home from work, dug up two of my favorite perennial specimens, and lugged them off to the Greenfest.  B does not share my enthusiasm for gardening, which really saddens my heart.  But she was equally excited about the food displays. :/

At the perennial table, I traded my stemless evening primrose (oenothera triloba) for a fern.  This is one flower I can hardly wait for each summer, as the kids love watching the buds bloom each evening.  Just at dusk, they race outside, trying to guess how many flowers will bloom tonight.  And if they are lucky, they get there just in time for the show.  You can actually watch them open!

stemless evening primrose

And I donated my Love-in-a-Mist (nigela damascena), which is actually an annual, but it self-sows, so I made it work.

Love-in-a-Mist

They will probably not like it after a couple of years when they can’t figure out how in the world it shows up everywhere – even in the cracks of the walkway!  But it’s such a pretty blue flower, I forgive it for its aggressive nature and pull the ones that just don’t belong.

Back to my list – my list of aggressive plants that I have tried despite the voice of experience.  When I first bought my wisteria and shared the news with Alice (my favorite gardening friend), her reaction was “oh my”.  What?  Well, just make sure it has some good support.  It can bring down a small house.  Of course, I’m training it up the stairs of my deck, along the rail.  Hopefully, the rails are strong enough to hold it.

I’ve also been told of how difficult it is to grow wisteria in my part of the world.  Maybe that’s another reason for Alice’s concern.  I know I came close to enjoying the plant in bloom this year, but the weather just did not cooperate.

Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) – the first time I saw it was at the beach house in North Carolina.

trumpet creeper

The flowers were gorgeous, orange and long.  The seed pods are enormous, and should probably have told me something about the plant.  I have tried 3 times (unsuccessfully) to start these vines on my fence, but the ground must be too moist.  I have since read horror stories of having to bring in a backhoe to dig out the roots of this extremely invasive plant.  (I did check on it yesterday, and it does appear that the vine may have taken root, finally.  Now the question that remains to be answered – did I make a mistake here?)

I’ve told my English Ivy story, and Alice actually warned me about that one too.

She gave me my first sample of evening primrose (not the stemless variety) and told me I’d have to keep it at bay, as it could take over the entire garden.  She was right on all counts.

I really have to applaud the new principal at our middle school.  He is really encouraging the students to be good stewards to the environment.  He spearheaded this Greenfest a few years ago, and the program continues to grow each year.  He brings in local nurseries, a bee keeper, an etymologist, a Penn State Master Gardener, and has demonstrations that each class puts together – similar to a science fair.

The perennials that were donated will be planted in the courtyard (which for 25 years has had nothing but grass growing in it).