Methinks I've got an Ampelopsis brevipedunculata. The good news is that it is not fatal; the bad news is that it is a new invasive pest I must eradicate from my garden. Right now it lies in pieces under one of my oldest and best beloved roses, the rugosa Sir Thomas Lipton, but who is to say that somewhere near Hokaido, vestigial roots are not rushing toward my roses?
Botanical thuggery is nothing new to me. I have been fighting a loosing battle with invasive weeds ever since I started gardening in a previously uncultivated piece of land. It did not help that the land's most recent owner had detonated Meadow in a Can all over the property. The first year after this ill-considered action, pretty oxeye and shasta daisies popped up as did several greeny things that did not look in the least threatening. By the second year of my tenancy, the pretty flowers were gone. There remained vetch, Canadian thistle, and horrors too numerous to list.
Today, they are part of of axis of evil that threatens my perennials. True, it is unlikely that Ailanthus altissima, the very worst of the lot came from Previous Owner's Meadow in a Can. My personal opinion is that it came from a much hotter location. I mean, really, really hot. Ailanthus is a cunning tree. It seems to grow particularly well next to non-invasive shrubs trees. Since its tissues secrete a killer substance called ailanthone, it easily destroys defenseless competitors for nutrients and space. This year, I lost a lovely Nanho Blue buddleia whose lush branches hid an ailanthus from view. I fear this will not be the last victim to the Asian monster.
Along with ailanthus, multiflora rose, creeping charlie, virginia creeper, poison ivy, bindweed, bitter, inedible wild blackberry and several unidentified vines flourish in my neighborhood. I read with alarm that ailanthus seeds remain viable for twenty years, that of multiflora rose will sprout after fifty years of slumber, that wild blackberries have roots fifteen feet long. I will say nothing of poison ivy, but I will mention that the Japanese and Chinese wisteria I bought from a fancy nursery in New England, are showing terrifyingly imperialistic tendencies.
What do? I understand that nothing short of nuclear holocaust will complete rid my neighborhood of these botanical thugs. I don't want to go kaboom and neither do I want to rely on harsh chemicals to keep these undesirable aliens from proliferating. Please excuse me, I must call the guys at Homeland Security. I hope they do plants.
P.S. Note to our Commander-in-Chief
I hear you have been thinking of duking it out with the Iranian chap. I have a better idea. Let's just send him some of my weeds of mass destruction.


Popular Posts