Best Way To Clean Out Flower Bed Overgrown With Weeds Beauty and the Beast – Trumpet Vine, Rose of Sharon, Sumac – Why Grow These Shrubs? It’s a Paradox

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Beauty and the Beast – Trumpet Vine, Rose of Sharon, Sumac – Why Grow These Shrubs? It’s a Paradox

Vine, Rose of Sharon, Sept. Why would anyone want to plant these shrubs in a pool, patio or outdoor living area? Each of them is a beast that can never be fully tamed, a beast that will require diligence and persistence to control and keep at bay.

The answer to this question lies not in their beastly features but in their beauty. It’s a paradox worth examining.

Beauty and the Beast is a classic fairy tale based on a paradox. Paradox is a literary term that is briefly defined as the juxtaposition of two seemingly contradictory or conflicting images or ideas that, ironically, are not in contradiction or conflict; rather, when taken together, the paradoxical concepts actually form a striking new perspective or truth about their subject. Beauty and the Beast shouldn’t fall in love, but they do and their love sheds new light on the nature of relationships and love itself. Paradox, however, is not just a literary term; it is a reality of life, a complexity that adds interest and beauty to whatever aspect of life it manifests. This reality also includes the arrangement of outdoor living space.

Yes, trumpet vine, rose of Sharon and ruj are beasts, but they are also beauties that can be worth the effort. However, it is important to understand the dark side of their nature before committing them to any landscaping project.

All three of these bushes share the same beast-like tendencies. They are predators with a pack mentality that wants to expand, conquer and dominate new hunting grounds. Simply put, they will spread everywhere if they are allowed to. They will grow outward from the original planting site; they will also spring up all over the yard at considerable distances where they are least expected or even wanted. If they are allowed to establish themselves in any new place, they will be much more difficult to control. Constant vigilance will be required. This is not a war that can be won in the end, but a battle that will be fought again and again forever. Remember, however, that gardening, like life, is a journey and most of its greatest rewards come from overcoming the obstacles of the journey, not from reaching the final destination.

So, why grow trumpet vine, rose of Sharon and ruj? Very simply, because each is a beauty and each is worth the effort.

The vine is a climber, like ivy, which can be grown above any building. Bright orange cone or trumpet flowers will attract hummingbirds and provide them with breathtaking entertainment. This vine can turn an ordinary chain link fence into a living privacy wall, as attractive as any hedge, but less demanding on space. Grown on a trellis, it can be used as a screen on a terrace or patio. An inviting entrance to the outdoor living area can be created by growing vines above a cedar arbor, or a row of these covered arbors can be placed along a path to create a shaded walkway from one outdoor room to the next. Set up a garden bench, porch swing, or glider along part of this path for a romantic retreat. One segment of the pool terrace can be covered with a simple vine-covered pagoda to provide a shaded escape from the sunbed if desired. This covered pagoda could accommodate a couple of comfy adirondack chairs, another swing, or a poolside dining table. This vine can also be twisted around a post to form a small umbrella-shaped flowering tree specimen for the yard or garden. Either of these options makes the trumpet vine worth fighting to control.

Next, Rose of Sharon is a small tree and a member of the hibiscus family, perhaps a poor relative, but a hardy one. It will survive and flourish in colder climates in northern states and Canada where hibiscus will not. Its flower is somewhat smaller and less showy than the hibiscus, but still beautiful and very profuse bursting from the ends of the branches from mid-summer to autumn when many other garden flowers begin to fade. Shades of purple are dominant, ranging from pink tones to lighter purples and deeper lilacs; some beauties, however, are bright white with a deep red heart. Trees can be allowed to grow to form the center of a yard or garden; they can also be reduced and trimmed into an inverted cone shape that gives them the appearance of a giant vase of flowers when in full bloom; finally, they can even be grown close together in a row to create an attractive hedge. Rose of Sharon, then, is also worth the effort to contain.

Finally, say hello to low September. These fast-growing trees are often seen growing in ditches and wetlands and along the edges and medians of major highways. Many consider them to be mere weeds or shrubs, unworthy of any serious garden or landscaping of a well-designed outdoor living space. Some of us, however, exclaim: NOT SO! Upon closer examination, certain unique and attractive characteristics emerge. In spring, new growing branches have a soft, furry or downy texture like cottontails or young deer’s antlers. The flowers are large, dark maroon or rust-colored corncob-shaped clusters that resemble tropical fruits that appear in late summer and often last until snow falls. The leaves are long, pointed, green ovals that grow along both sides of the young branches, often weighing them down somewhat and giving a drooping appearance; in autumn, when the colors change, they range from banana to orange to light pomegranate. In summer, when these leaves are dark green and pendulous, the branches take on the appearance of a palm tree, or at least something as close to it as can be found in climates where palm trees do not grow. The fact that they grow so quickly and often in a strange way allows them to be trimmed and shaped however the owner wishes, much like a bonzai tree; they can be grown to resemble tall or short palm trees, or even take on a windswept, disheveled appearance borrowed from a northern lake or cliff. There are also more sophisticated varieties that have been bred to have even hairier branches, split leaves like the Japanese maple, and bright yellow leaves. Therefore, no gardener, landscaper, or homeowner should be afraid to give low sedges an honest look before dismissing them as nothing more than a weed and a nuisance.

Finally, in his classic novel, A tale of two cities, Charles Dickens said of life in France before the Revolution: “They were the best of times; they were the worst of times” – another famous paradox. Well, having any or all of these three shrubs – vine, rose of Sharon, and rose – in your garden or outdoor living space can be just that: the best of times and the worst of times. All are beauties and all are beasts. That duality should be embraced; the journey that follows will be its own reward.

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