Photos: left–a blue trumpet vine. Right: Someone else’s night blooming cereus.

My new next-door-neighbor knocked on my door after he came home from work today. After setting a chair in front of the door so the Babe wouldn’t go through the glass (she’s extremely protective), I sneaked out through the kitchen door to see what he wanted.

“I was trimming that vine over the weekend,” he said, “and suddenly it fell over into your yard. So if you need help tying it back up, just let me know.”

“The Vine” is actually six or seven Blue Trumpet vines that I planted about five years ago. They have completely covered the fence between our houses and spilled over onto my neighbor’s side. In fact, those vines are so aggressive that every morning I got out and snip off the new trailers that keep reaching for my kitchen window. I’m convinced that if I didn’t do this, the vine would eat my house.

I assured my new neighbor not to worry about anything, I was sure he couldn’t hurt that vine. And then Babe and I went outside to see what he was talking about.

Oops. Looked like a green wall had fallen down in the slender ribbon of what passes for lawn in my backyard. So I waited until the men came home, then armed hubby and son with clippers, electric hedge trimmers, and rope. “Just hack off the fallen part,” I told them, “and tie up what’s left.”

So they did. I stood there, directing traffic as they cut through the living top layer of the vine, then we all stood there hacking as dust flew when hubby cut through the dead lower layers of the vine.

And as he began to haul the dismembered vine wall toward the garbage heap, I noticed that the ground seemed to be moving. No . . . I was seeing a carpet of crickets. No, not crickets. ROACHES.

Arrrrrgh! There are few things I hate worse. And suddenly, in a flash of brilliance, I realized why I find roaches in my garage and virtually nowhere else in my house. The garage is next to The Vine, which is apparently a leading Roach Nursery.

So now I have to find someone to take out those vines. Every last one of ’em. And then I’ll plant something docile and green, maybe a bougainvillea that will accept my pruning and not challenge me every single morning.

Oh! There is good news from the garden. Last year I planted two stalks of Night Blooming Cereus–the lovely flower that has only a few blooms once a year and only blooms at night. This weekend on those baby stalks I found one bloom each! I was thrilled. I read in the paper that some folks have Night Blooming Cereus parties, but I’m not sure my blooms are stellar enough to deserve the neighborhood’s attention. I keep checking the buds, though, so I won’t miss the birth of a rare flower.

Maybe next year I’ll break out the chips and dip.

PS. If you think I’m kidding about how seriously some folks take the blooming of a NBC, check out this link:



  1. Ane Mulligan

    When I lived in Southern California, I gardened a lot. When we moved to Georgia, the first bug I saw was enough to drive me indoors for good. Of Brazilian rain forest proportion, the beatle had to be a good 2″ wide and 3″ long. Nope, now it’s Azaleas which take care of themselves with little attention from me. :o)

  2. Kay

    Reminds me of a murder mystery I read once involving Kudzu.

  3. Anonymous

    Mother woke us when I was a child to “experience” her NBC – and at 40 yrs old, it remains one of my fondest memories. Nothing like the simple thrills in life!
    You must celebrate your blossom, at least in some small way – it is tradition….

  4. Pam in Colorado

    We have a new home and this is our first summer here. I am learning that I know nothing about plants. Thankfully I have a friend who is a landscaper and he can tell me what is worth keeping, what needs cut out and how to get what I love to grow even more!!!

    I love the idea of plants but bugs are always hanging around and I don’t love bugs!


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