Thursday, October 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Vines gone wild

Trumpet vine, trumpet creeper, is a beautiful thing. In two or three years this vigorous woody vine can cover almost any pergola or trellis - or building - completely. You can whack it back in winter and it returns full and ripe the next

Vines gone wild

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Villainous vine

Trumpet vine, trumpet creeper, is a beautiful thing. In two or three years this vigorous woody vine can cover almost any pergola or trellis - or building - completely. You can whack it back in winter and it returns full and ripe the next spring. I've been whacking it all summer to keep it in line and more than once cursing it. Its seedlings are everywhere this year, its third season - in open spaces, curled inside my clethra bushes, entwined with the hardy hibiscus, spurting up the hydrangeas and climbing walls where it's not invited.

It's a pretty vine, to be sure. Pointed leaves and tubular, trumpet shaped, orange and yellow flowers whose nectar hummingbirds enjoy. I see other birds in and on the vines. It's something of a launching pad.

But Campsis radicans, though native to this area, is so aggressive, its rootlets or "holdfasts" ruthlessly grabbing on to anything vertical, that I'd never plant it again. Far better to do a native vine like trumpet honeysuckle - Lonicera sermpervirens. I have quite a few of them and, like the children you never had, they are always both beautiful and well-behaved.

So this morning, yet again, I gathered seedpods from the trumpet vine in the vain hope that I can prevent more seedlings from sprouting. I put the in the trash - never the composter! I can't wait to see trumpet vines inching out of the manhole covers! 

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Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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