Bound by honeysuckle

Honeysuckle vines this week, Oak Point Nature Preserve
All through the nature preserve the honeysuckle vines are blooming. The scent is wonderful and powerful as a way-back machine. So many evenings sitting on the driveway with family and neighbors, eating fresh strawberries with powdered sugar, or roasting marshmallows, watching sphinx moths sip at honeysuckle blooms. We kids would pick the blooms and suck the "honey".

Textile collage, 2007

The plant growing around our lamp post  had an aggressive tendency to take over lawn and even the driveway. Pruning and mowing only set it back for a little while. I am pretty sure it was Japanese honeysuckle, planted by the previous owner who also painted the kitchen and bathroom "Chinese red" and was fond of bamboo blinds. They had no idea what a fight that plant would give us over the fifty plus years my parents lived in that house. Japanese honeysuckle is now considered an invasive, and it is certainly running rampant at the preserve, binding and draping over the native plants and trees. So the intoxicating scent means trouble.

Sphinx moth, Oak Point Nature Preserve
My dad's long battle against the honeysuckle ended in 2006. Dad went out to check the rain gauge atop the lamp post and got tangled in the vines. He broke his hip in his fall, and on that hot August day he would have died if not seen by a neighbor. The next five and a half years were a long decline leading to his death, but the statute of limitations against the vine had probably run out by then.

The lamp post is at the top of the driveway inside a mound of honeysuckle.

Photos and artwork © 2013 Nancy L. Ruder with all rights reserved.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Oh, the sad, sweet story of the honeysuckle. Sorry, honey.

Here, the neighbor's pink honeysuckle has bloomed, across a patch of lawn from my lily of the valley struggling up from the fall leaves I haven't completely cleared away due to the rain. The leaf bed seems to be making them stronger and taller this year. In our back yard, a white honeysuckle bush is just beginning to bloom at its tippy top.