Tuesday, October 26, 2010


An advantage of buying an old house is that, usually, they come with mature landscapes.  So instead of the stark, treeless sea of green that often accompanies new construction, you get large shade trees, flowering bulbs, old varieties of roses, apple trees, and grapevines.  You gaze in wonder and admiration at the previous owners who had the foresight to plant crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths that pop up their heads when it seems that winter will never end.    You pick some lilacs to bring some of the heady smell of spring inside.  You photograph the roses, irises, and lilies thinking they're the most beautiful ever.  You enjoy the cool shade of the maples and huge common hackberry tree that keep the house from getting to hot in summer. 

And then there's the vines.  Somebody planted vines everywhere.  They try to strangle the lilacs.  They climb up the side of the house.  The come up in the lawn.  What were the previous owners thinking?!?  There's English ivy, poison ivy, grapevines, and several unidentified varieties.  You can pull and pull on them, but their roots go to China and I'm pretty certain some of these vines thrive on being cut off.  We have other weeds too, but the vines are insidious.  I'm fighting them again this fall as I clear old growth from the flower gardens and find that the vines are again trying to strangle the lilacs.  They won't win.  Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers so I take it personally when anything tries to strangle them.  

Next spring, the vines are toast.  I'll be studying up on eco-friendly ways to kill them (now that seems like an oxymoron) this winter.  But if eco-friendly doesn't work?  I have no qualms about using Round-Up and getting rid of my nemeses for good as long as it doesn't kill  the "good" plants.  Did I mention that mature landscapes can also be a disadvantage of buying an old house? 

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