Too far astray

I’ve been informed by higher-ups in this household that two yellow leafed bluebeards (Caryopteris × clandonensis ‘Worcester Gold’) have strayed too far onto the driveway. Something must be done, immediately. My wife says four feet, and even our small cars can’t get past without scraping the shrubs, or the Japanese maple on the far side. To be contrary I say it’s only eighteen inches, which is hardly anything to be bothered about. But it is.

Crowded for years by a cypress that was cut out earlier this year, Worcester Gold bluebeard inched towards the driveway. Now, it’s too many inches so that cars must drive over branch tips.

No matter, if some action is not promised, and soon, she will chop out the shrubs herself. I know from experience, the result will not be pretty. Instead, I’ll do the chopping, but more gently, and this will wait several weeks until the bluebeards are past bloom. Is this too much to ask?

No doubt, the bluebeards were not planted at the edge of the driveway as they seem, but as neighboring plants grew the branches inched further in that direction so that the center of the shrub appears to be a foot onto the asphalt. Neighbors have now been removed, or cut back so that there’s room to grow, so after flowering the bluebeards will be pruned to encourage growth into the bed and away from the driveway.

The yellow flowered passionflower (Passiflora lutea, above) has not yet made an appearance, and I worry that it has perished beneath the cover of a wide spreading Oakleaf hydrangea. Last year the vine was particularly vigorous, climbing past the hydrangea and far up into an Okame cherry. This part of the garden is so overgrown that I haven’t ventured into the bushes to find out for certain, but I would expect the passionflower to have climbed into daylight long before now. This vine should be hard to kill, but perhaps I’ve done it.

The purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata, above) is late to flower this year. For whatever reason, the vine did not grow from its crown until very late, though sprouts regularly emerged from root suckers several feet from where they should be. These were removed from between stones in the patio and eight feet away growing up through a dense clump of toad lilies, and finally it’s growing as it should. But, flowering will be weeks later than usual. There is some small benefit to this late bloom. Japanese beetles that flock to the flowers are gone by several weeks.

Waterloo Blue passionflower is planted with a support for the first four feet, and then it will climb into a green leafed Japanese maple.

In recent weeks I planted a new passionflower, ‘Waterloo Blue’ (Passiflora caerulea ‘Waterloo Blue’), which already has a few blooms. I planted it where it’s likely to get sun, even as the garden grows, and as it reaches the top of its support it will grow into a green leafed Japanese maple. This seems like a wonderful idea, and with blue and white flowers it is a distinct contrast to the purple flowered passionflower.

Stems of the passionflowers are not woody, so they die back to the crown each winter. I’m surprised that many gardeners expect these are not cold hardy, and while there are tropical passionflowers, I’ve found that a cold winter only delays their appearance to later in the spring. While some woodier vines can be troublesome, passionflower never strays further than expected.

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