Invasives Part 2 ~ The Trumpet Vine

Twenty years ago when I moved into the house at 18 School Lane there was no garden or serious landscape to speak of. Lawn met the foundation of both the small house and an even smaller cottage located on the property. A mulched berm had been recently added between the two structures, and a few junipers barely clung to life in their attempt to give some purpose to the low mound of soil. A small, flowering cherry and a couple of rhododendrons were also recent additions to the landscape, and that was all. Oh, yes, there was the campsis.
Campsis radicans, or orange trumpet vine, as it is know by it's common name, had been planted or had seeded itself next to the brick patio located on the south side of the house. Being the curious, collect-all-I-could, novice gardener, the campsis was a welcome addition to the empty canvas that was now my yard. Little did I know then, what I do now, about this rampantly invasive, suckering vine. Yet it lives on, twenty years later, in not one, but two locations in my garden. From loving it's winter structure and fiery-orange, hummimg bird attracting summer blooms, to cursing the never ending, ever spreading assault of suckers, sprouting from the soil at ever further distances from the main plant, I have allowed this garden thug to continue carrying on. It is now one of many in a collection of invasive, self-sowing, suckering, spreading plants that call this quarter acre of land home. Unfortunately, the inital appeal of plants in the garden center, field, woods, or empty lot, for me, has nothing to do with potential invasiveness once introduced into their new home, my garden.
So, for twenty years I have restled, pruned, tied, and shaped my two campsis into fine looking, pollarded tree-form specimens. Today, during our un-snow storm, I cut back the second plant that had missed an earlier round of winter pruning. New shoots will appear late in spring, one of the last plants in the garden to break dormancy. Growing like a weed, it will make up for lost time and will be in full bloom by mid-July and will flower into the fall. Humming birds visit it daily, always exciting to see and probably the real reason I keep these plants around.


  1. You are certainly NOT alone when it comes to loving something and adding it to the garden, not really knowing what to expect. Most of what I've learned is from experience! It does have a beautiful flower and it's so nice the hummingbirds love it. This question of invasive plants verses 'natives' and whether to remove or just keep 'pruned and contained' is one that I've noticed MANY gardeners are wrestling with. I haven't a clue what the 'right' thing to do all depends on your 'sustainable' perspective, and that's something I am only just now beginning to learn about & be a little more conscious of. My personal opinion is, if you don't mind doing the work, hang on to it.


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