Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Go Vols!

Usually when I say “Go Vols” I am cheering for my alma mater, The University of Tennessee (Go Vols!), but today I am cheering for volunteer plants.  I mean, how can you not love this?

This sweet autumn clematis has been lurking in our spirea bushes for years.  Off and on I fight against it, pulling it out and cutting it down where I can’t pull it out.  Every year when the clematis starts popping up its leafy vines, a little fear pops up in me that it will choke my spirea.  I adore spirea in the spring when those bridal wreaths are in full flower just looking for a wedding to crash.

So I become a scissor-wielding, vine tugging vigilante.  Except when I don’t.   Some years I am too lazy or too busy to put my vigilante hat on, and the sweet autumn clematis has its own way.  And its way is lovely.  It looks almost like the spirea is blooming again in September.

In general, I don’t coddle my garden.  Plants have to be hardy to survive in our walnut-shaded, Midwestern-wintered, dog-trodden yard.  I rarely think to fertilize and only occasionally think to water, but I throw around compost and have recently embraced mulching.  (I use cocoa hull mulch.  Oh my god, the yummy smell when I spread the mulch is heaven!  Plus it looks great.)  So like most of my plants, our spirea is hardy.  So why do I worry?

Volunteer flag with volunteer vine

My goal for next year is to let nature take its course a little bit more.  I'll say "Go Vols" in the spring even when there's no football or basketball to cheer.  I’ll try to let the sweet autumn clematis alone and only fight with the wild grapevine and Virginia creeper.  

But these guys? 

Where's my RoundUp?

Well, let’s just say I’ll keep my vigilante hat near the door.

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