This post is not pretty. It’s not about gorgeous flowers or delicious new recipes. It’s about an invasive vine with which I have a constant battle. It’s about bittersweet.
Sure, bittersweet can be pretty. It looks nice in autumn floral arrangements and wreaths. It has glossy green leaves and green berries that turn a bright orange in the fall. Those berries provide a good source of food for birds. The birds, in turn, propagate new seedlings. And that’s the problem.
New plants pop up all over. In the lawn, flower beds, wooded areas. The chartreuse colored leaves in the vinca in this photo show young plants. These grew in the space of a couple weeks.
When they are relatively small, they are easy to pull out. They quickly develop an extensive root system, however. And if you leave just a tiny piece of root behind, the vine will reappear. This is a photo of a young plant showing the root:
As the vine matures, it looks for something to cling to. These shoots are starting to climb up my weeping juniper:
And these are climbing up a pine:
And this mess is a combination of bittersweet, kiwi vine and wild grape all clambering up a mulberry tree which, surprisingly, is still alive under it:
I planted that kiwi vine. I thought the dark green leaves and red stems were attractive. I was warned to keep on top of this vine. Keep it under control or it will grow all over everything around it. I had good intentions. I intended to keep it contained on a fence at the back of the herb garden. But here it is…out of control. If you hack your way under that mulberry tree, you are in a dark cave like area. And if you look up, this is what you see:
A closer look at the bittersweet, kiwi and grape vines all entwined:
The next picture is a close up of the kiwi and bittersweet…the only photo in this post that could be considered somewhat attractive:
The kiwi is on the top (you can see some of the red stems). The good thing is that the kiwi doesn’t have berries so it’s not spreading all over the place. It’s the bittersweet that’s the problem. And you can’t just sit inside and worry about it. You have to go outside and pull it and cut it. For me, it’s pretty much a daily thing. My daughter has the same problem at her house. She’s got bittersweet growing all along her back fence and she’s constantly cutting it back. But if it’s growing in one area, soon it will be popping up in other areas. I haven’t had the heart to tell her that. She’ll find out in time.
And that’s the story of my bittersweet battle.