Wednesday, May 29, 2013


The end of May in the Shire is  when one sees honeysuckle vines
just about everywhere one looks.
This time of year, honeysuckle grows along the edges of woods all the way 
from Tidewater to North Carolina 
and further south until the kudzu overtakes it, 
as in this photo from 
Not even honeysuckle can out-muscle this kind of kudzu:

I fell in love with the ever-so-sweet yellow blossoms of honeysuckle a long time ago
and used to wonder why I couldn't buy it in garden centers.
Of course I know now the honeysuckle 
 I looked forward to every spring is not a native vine.
This is the native honeysuckle:

And I'm sorry, but the native variety hasn't yet captured my attention.
I still prefer Japanese honeysuckle.
It was brought to the US for erosion control in 1806,
and I'd think that after 207 years of blooming and growing,
we could accept it as one of our own.
But no. Unlikely.
This is Japanese honeysuckle, whose blossoms 
become more yellow the older they are.
Here's a photo of nonnative honeysuckle by J. R. Manhart:

Photo credit: J. R. Manhart, 

Japanese honeysuckle is the poster child for unwanted, invasive plant species;
and the internet is full of advice on how to eradicate it.
The federal and state governments
have devised and carried out elaborate plans to curtail it.
And yet, it remains firmly ensconced,
capturing the heart of everyone who loves its heady scent.

Here's a photo by Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia,
that shows how invasive honeysuckle can be:

Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica  (Dipsacales: Caprifoliaceae) - 5302048
Photo, Chuck Bargeron, 

Since I don't have any property that is being swallowed by honeysuckle,
I am of the group that loves it. 
Regardless of its dubious habits, I will always love it.
I've tried planting it here;
but it is headstrong, growing only where it chooses--
and apparently it doesn't find my little plot of land acceptable.

I suppose it is as well that I enjoy its perfume as I'm driving by.
Sometimes it is better to appreciate something rather than to possess it,
lest one's property become possessed by it.

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