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The accidental gardener

By Laurena Mayne Davis

As with life in general, there should be room for a little serendipity in the garden and the yard. Start with a plan — and adapt.

Witness this feral patch of Virginia creeper.

I did not plant it. Instead, I had planted a neat row of alternating shrubs of maroon barberry and golden euonymus, thinking they would fill in this dry, north-facing no-man’s-land between barn and bunny pens. Most shrubs withered, preferring, I suppose, an English garden life, or at least water.

Birds came along and planted the Virginia creeper, leaving seeds in their droppings as they roosted above in a cottonwood tree. A hog panel stapled to the barn provides traction. I think it’s the perfect, serendipitous solution.
 

Odd thing is, I’ve struggled for years to cultivate Virginia creeper to mask the chain link fencing in our front yard, which was useful years ago for containing toddlers, but really just looks like prison fencing. I bought starts of Virginia creeper and watered them diligently. Few took hold; they suffered in the sun.

The landscaping solution? Tear out the prison fencing, and enjoy the birds’ vines in the back yard.


 

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