Today was the day. The wind was calm, and the sun shined down upon my quest. My first rose in the back garden, ‘Cl. Old Blush’, but affectionately known around here as the Dowager Duchess, groaned under the weight of the evil autumn clematis. DD was just beginning to break dormancy, as she is always the first and last rose to bloom, but, twelve feet up in the sky, I could see her straining beneath the autumn clematis’s dead blooms.
Do you ever regret planting something in your garden? I mean, at the time, it seemed like a good idea, but after a couple of seasons, you realize you’ve let loose a monster in your midst?
For me, autumn clematis is one of these. It came here as a small and innocent looking plant, but those ivory blooms belied a terrible, secret desire for world domination. After the first season, I should have listened to my friend, Katie, when she said that she didn’t trust a plant which did so well in Oklahoma weather. Like the lotus eaters in Odysseus, I was seduced by autumn clematis’s foamy blooms and didn’t listen. By the second season, I was spending every available moment yanking the clematis back under control.
I knew we were in trouble when the clematis starting re-seeding itself throughout the garden. Suspiciously, it often chose places where other pricier clematis grew making it difficult to catch it before it had the unsuspecting plants in a strangle hold
This afternoon, I heard the pleas of the Dowager Duchess and after clearing away the dead leaves at the base of the rose, I found her completely encircled by an already growing (spring has sprung) autumn clematis. With spade and hoe, I hacked away at the clematis’s roots while trying not to disturb either the rose’s roots or the earthworm population.
I think I’ve won Round One, but I doubt I’ve won the war. Only time will tell.