Tackling the Vine

I moped on the couch for a while this morning, nursing my second cold in as many weeks. Then I hauled myself back up and went outside.  The sun is shining today with a high of 77 degrees F (25 degrees C).  Cold or no cold, I needed to be outside in that fresh air. Lindy, Slinky and Mouse all thought so too, so they followed me outdoors.

After wandering around the garden, I donned my gloves and my shears and tackled one of my projects: the now deceased Hardenbergia vine.

Dismantling the vine

Dismantling the vine

Digging it up wasn’t possible,  but at least I could cut back the woody vines.  I used my “Martha Stewart”  ruby saw and a pair of lopping shears and chopped the vine back to the roots.  Over the past decade, the Hardenbergia gradually wound its vines around the trellis, rooting it to the ground below.  I pruned away the dead wood in parts, a bit like disassembling a puzzle.

dead vines

“Puzzle” pieces

When done, I poked around in the soil in search of clues. No obvious sign of the plant’s demise was evident (like a gopher or a fungus).  Perhaps it was just time.

rope vines

Rope like vines embrace the trellis

dead vines

Beauty, even in death

Now that the vine and trellis are out, I’m giving some thought to the replacement.  The Hardenbergia required a major pruning once a year, a task that had me up on the ladder for long stretches of time.  Planting something closer to the ground is more my speed these days.

Please stay tuned!

Pruning at a Price

I got ahead of myself on Monday and I’ve paid for it all week.

I love pruning. It appeals to my organizing side: tackling a rambling shrub or vine and bringing the wandering branches back under control. Taming the beast, so to speak, at least temporarily. After reading up on the additional sun needed for my winter garden, I got down to business. The hardenbergia hadn’t seen a hard prune in six years. It was time. Pruning would allow additional sunlight to shine on the garden beds as summer waned.

Up and down the ladder I went, in the morning before it got too hot; again in the evening before dark. My neighbor helped from the other side of the fence while my husband sharpened tools. My youngest son pulled twigs from the lattice and eventually we tamed the vine. Over the years the vines “braided” themselves around each other, up along the fence, through the cat fencing and around the supports. Pruning felt like the dismantling of a puzzle.

Braided Hardenbergia Vines

Empowered by my success, I tackled the Pittosporum next. My boys started new schools Monday, so I was employing the “busy hands” technique to keep from worrying.

My inner obsessive gardener took hold and I sawed, chopped and trimmed branches for an hour and a half.


Satisfied with my progress and sticky from sap, I finally relented. Sadly, it was too late. My neck ached, then throbbed and by day’s-end I was miserable. I employed the usual “cast of characters” including a hot bath, topical analgesic and a couple of naproxen.

The next day I felt worse. I tried ice, more analgesics and even slept wearing my trusty cervical collar that night. By Wednesday a migraine moved in and I finally called my chiropractor. Darn if she wasn’t out-of-town!

Five days later I’m almost myself again. It’s hard to give up or give in to your body’s woes; to admit that you aren’t as young as you once were. Age and a series of auto accidents have robbed me of my once-nimble neck. It’s time to call in the pruning professionals. The price for the pleasure of pruning is officially too high.