Or I’ll summarize for you: 33 positive reviews, 24 neutral and 47 negatives! The negative reviewers used LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS and verbiage like:
- "Kill the Beast!"
- "Killed some of my trees."
- "It can penetrate asphalt driveway."
- "I hate this vine with a passion."
- "I will celebrate the day that it becomes illegal to sell or plant this vine."
- And almost everyone used the term "Invasive."
The only problem with calling this plant "invasive" is that it’s an American native, and the feds have defined "invasive" as a nonnative plant that behaves badly (to summarize). So for purposes of getting funding to remove bad plants, only the bad nonnative plants qualify – a battle that invasive/native plant expert John Peter Thompson fought, lost, and still gripes about, citing deer as the most obvious native species that’s grossly out of control.
Indeed some readers of Daves know the legal definition and object to its use for this native vine, one suggesting the term "rambunctious" be used, as it was on a "pro-trumpet vine website" she’d found.
MORE HELPFUL TERMS, PLEASE
It seems to me the legal definition of "invasive" may work for purposes of invasive species removal in natural areas or to warn people whose gardens are adjacent to natural areas. But when it comes to the typical urban or suburban landscape, the term is virtually useless.
Gardeners need to know how plants behave IN GARDENS. If they seed, are the seedlings easy to remove or not? After all, spreading aggressively is an asset for plants being tasked with lawn replacement, unless the gardener’s budget allows for spacing plants cheek by jowl.
My local hort club faced this problem not long ago when members were describing the plants they were giving away at the club’s plant swaps as "invasive" and confusing the hell out of everyone. The word got out and people asked, "Why’s the local hort club distributing invasives?" (And no, nobody was giving away Japanese honeysuckle, an actual invasive in this area – the term was being misused to describe plants that spread, period.) But aside from the bad press, potential recipients of "invasive" plants wanted to know more, and always shot back with "In what way?" and "Is it hard to get rid of?"
But it might help if we used "invasive" in the context of natural areas and gardens that abut them, and something else to label plants as potential thugs in the garden, and I have a few I’d like to nominate for that second category, starting with bishop’s weed and houttuynia. It would also help if we identified where bad plant X is invasive, or in what types of conditions, since plants can behave very differently in different places.
Oh, and good native alternatives to trumpet vine are:
- Crossvine, aka Bignonia, about which there are no negative reviews on Daves Garden.
- Honeysuckle, about which Dave’s readers rave.
Trumpet vine photo source: Wikipedia.Posted by Susan Harris on September 9, 2008 at 5:12 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.