Friday, October 16, 2009

Beauty in the beast

We gardeners have a lot to answer for. And the plant shown above is a good example. Take a look at gardening books of a century ago, and you will have no trouble finding authors singing the praises of the porcelain berry vine, Ampelopsis brevipedunculata. This much is still true: it's certainly very beautiful when it's festooned with those blue fruits.

That beauty was its passport into gardens all over the Eastern United States. That it proved to be adaptable and easily grown were pluses. It was also easily propagated. And as time told, it was very good at propagating itself. It is now a serious weed in this area. It has made itself at home in the local woodlands (where we already have native species of Ampelopsis). In my garden it has made itself very much at home. I spent hours the other day cutting it out. And that is only part of the solution because this plant sprouts readily from any substantial piece of root left in the ground. The battle will be continued next year.

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