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A Vicious Intruder In The Garden

Welcome to the 282nd Metamorphosis Monday!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Mine was great although part of it involved dealing with a vicious intruder in the garden. You may remember this view from last summer, it’s the walkway that leads to my front porch.

Perennials Bed Along Side Brick Walkway

 

Notice the clump of bushes off to right. Three of those are spiraea a friend gave me many years ago. They have pink flowers each spring. I’ve completely forgotten the name of the shrubs growing behind them but they bloom with white flowers in the spring.

Perennial Bed Along Side Brick Walkway

 

Smack in the middle of that big clump of bushes is what I’ve been not-so-lovingly calling a “sticker bush.” I’ve fought it for years and years. It used to be pretty easy to control when the shrubs surrounding it were smaller. I could wade right in and dig it out of the ground, pulling out its underground runners that grew like kudzu on steroids.

It’s a scary monster with BIG fangs thorns that catch on your clothing and destroy your skin if you give it half a chance. If you dare to pass near, it comes to life, reaches out and goes for blood.  It makes kudzu look like a slow-grower and an octopus look like it’s lacking arms. See all those arrows? Those are just a few of its thorn-covered appendages, laying in wait to embrace its next unsuspecting victim.

Blackberry Bush with thorns in the Garden_wm

 

Someone recently told me it’s a “blackberry bush.” That was news to me since in all the years I’ve been fighting it, I’ve never seen any blackberries. On closer inspection Sunday, I found a couple.

Blackberries_wm

 

I like blackberries but not enough to fight thorns like this.

Thorns on Blackberry Bush_wm

 

It’s a nightmare to get rid of it because every inch of its 1,000 prickly arms looks like this.

Thorns_wm

 

I let it get way out of hand this summer because I plan to have all those shrubs removed since they are deciduous and turn to sticks come winter time, not a look I really want for the front of my home. I figured I’d get it dug out when I had the shrubs removed this spring/summer, or I’d at least be able to dig it out myself.

But I got busy with other home-related needs, scheduling house pressure-washing, porch painting and a bit of bat shooing-away. Before I could get the bushes removed, my thorny intruder took over half the walkway and a section of the front island.

Blackberry Bush with thorns in the Garden_wm

 

I put on my battle gear yesterday which included long pants, a long sleeve shirt and heavy-duty gloves that reached all the way up to my elbows. Before I was done, I had three big piles like this.

Blackberry Bush Cut Out

 

It’s still inside that clump of bushes, just waiting to come back out again, but at least it’s been beaten back for a while. Once the bushes are gone, I’ll be able to get more of the roots out.

Spirea_wm

 

Remember the little perennial bed across the walkway, the one I planted last summer there on the left?

Perennial Bed Along Side Brick Walkway

The plants are much bigger now…amazing what a year can do!

Perennial Garden with Purple Coneflower, Coreopsis Moonbeam and Russian Sage_wm

 

Notice the size of the Purple Coneflower in the center of the back row and the size of the of the small clump of Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ in front in this picture from last summer.

Perennial Garden

 

They survived our harsh winter and are thriving in this spot. I love Purple Coneflower and it blooms for a pretty long time.

Purple Conflower and Coreopsis Moonbeam

 

The Russian Sage I planted is just starting to bloom, too.

Russian Sage and Purple Coneflower

 

I love its subtle lavender color here in the garden.

Russian Sage and Purple Coneflower 3_wm

 

Hope your weekend was a lot less prickly! :) Can’t wait to view all the Before and Afters for this Met Monday!

 

Met Monday

If you are participating in Metamorphosis Monday, you will need to link up the “permalink” to your MM post and not your general blog address. To get your permalink, click on your post name, then just copy and paste the address that shows up in the address bar at the top of your blog, into the “url” box for InLinkz.

In order to link up, you’ll need to include a link in your MM post back to the party so the other participants will have an opportunity to receive visits from your wonderful blog readers.

Please observe these few rules:

Only link up Before and After posts that are home, gardening, crafting, painting, sewing, cooking, DIY related.

Do not link up if you’re doing so to promote a website or product.

Do not link up a post that was just linked last week since a lot of readers will have already seen that post.





Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the party!!

    Hugs,
    Debbie

  2. Your walkway is beautiful Susan! Makes me want to go out and landscape.
    Deb

  3. Hi Susan, Your garden is thriving and so pretty! I’ve been battling blackberry vines for a while too, they are a thorn in my side, pun intended :)

  4. Ouch! Susan, those look horrible, but I had to laugh at your commentary. I love your curving brick walkway, and your flowers look so pretty. I agree with you – let somebody else deal with those monster bushes. laurie

  5. Wow! I never knew that blackberry bushes were that aggressive. This gives me new admiration for my grandparents who picked blackberries every day so we could eat them on ice cream every night.

    • I remember picking blackberries once many, many years ago at a farm where they grew them for picking. I remember it took forever because of all the thorns. I was so surprised when we went back to the same farm another time to pick blueberries and I discovered they didn’t have thorns…shock! I guess I thought all berry picking would be a battle of the thorns after that first experience. Berry picking without thorns…definitely the way to go! :) Your grandparents were probably pros and knew how to avoid those nasty thorns. :)

  6. Ok those do look like blackberries. I have a story to tell about them. My dad and I used to go to our local forest preserve to pick blackberries, raspberries, wild strawberries, etc. Well one year we found tons of blackberries and brought them home for mom to make preserves. My dad took the rinsing water, which had blackberry seeds in it and through it out in the back yard, and sure enough they grew. He wanted them to grow, but my mom had tons of trouble getting rid of them years later when they started to take over. They started to choke out the raspberries, which produce twice a year and are tastier by far. He had to take some drastic measures and use Roundup, but made sure it only touched the blackberries. You must keep pulling them out and perhaps spraying and remain vigilent, you will succeed. Garden looks lovely though.

    • I can see that happening after seeing how this bush grows! Glad they were able to save the raspberries! I think once I get these bushes removed, I can really keep after it…right now it’s hiding from me! Thanks Carole!

  7. What a gorgeous walkway Susan – I just bought some purple cone flowers ( LOVE them ) but it’s still a long long way from my front porch to yours lol
    Have a wonderful week – and thanks so much for hosting
    Hugs from Montreal,
    Suzan

    • Oh, I love them too, Suzan! I keep seeing my Goldfinches landing on them and munching/picking at the tops, so there must be something in that cone that they like, also.

  8. Those blackberry thorns can be THORNY! Our blackberry bushes are in the woods and nestled along the edge of some of our pine trees so not so bad. Your garden area is beautiful though Susan! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  9. You are the champion of the garden world! Thank you for hosting.

  10. Thanks so much for hosting, Susan!
    My sister-in-law recently planted a thornLESS blackberry bush. I love blackberries, so I”m on the hunt for one too :0) Your walkway is beautiful.
    Have a great week,
    Suzanne

  11. Your walkway is just beautiful Susan and I admire your fighting spirit to tackle the blackberry bush~no berry is worth all those thorns! You are so amazing, you can do anything! AND do it well! Thanks for the fun Monday~

  12. Thanks so much for hosting Susan…have a super week!!

  13. Thanks so much for hosting!
    KC

  14. We have one blackberry, an old-fashioned variety that does produce good berries. However, it is very hard to contain even in its own little boxed in spot. Anywhere a branch touches the ground, it will take root! Probably that is what has happened with your wild one.

    My husband said Brush Kill applied directly to the offender will kill it, but be mindful of the runoff if it rains. It will also kill everything else. He used it to get rid of poison ivy in some of our gardens. He says you should spray, maybe twice, while the weather is dry for a few days, and take into consideration where water will drain when it rains.

    • Thanks for those tips, Ellen! As soon as I can get those bushes out, it’s gonna be war so I’ll keep the Brush Kill stuff in mind. I may need that to get rid of it!

  15. Oh, bless your heart – these things have been a curse in my garden for years – you HAVE to get all of the roots (they run underground like vinca) and aggresively attack them from above. It’s a job and they are vicious! Those tiny little thorns hurt! I’ve found some fantastic gloves at Tractor Supply – pink ;) that allow me to grip them without being stuck! Hope you have a blessed Monday! I do appreciate you hosting
    Kathy

    • They run forever underground…you are so right. I found some all the way up under the magnolia tree several feed away! Pink gloves…love it! I’ve never visited a tractor supply. I love stores like that…will have to visit sometime!

    • You can find the Tractor Supply Co. surrounding Atlanta in the rural cities-you’ll love it! the gloves have heavy leather palms and the bottom-side of the fingers -that makes the difference- my hairdresser told me they have excellent hats for gardening – with SPF factor. I also like Walter Reeves’ suggestion of using a sponge paint brush to apply weed killer when you see leaves.
      Kathy

      • You know what’s funny…right after you left your comment the other day, that very same night a good friend emailed me and we were talking garden stuff and she told me she had just bought gloves at Tractor Supply. Now here I’ve never heard of it and two people tell me about their gloves in the same day. lol I think it’s a sign that I need to visit one! :)

        • Mine are C. E. Schmidt work gloves (label on wristband) – my daughter bought a pair the same time I did. She wore them while on a mission trip to Mexico where they built a house – she loved them! It probably is a sign! I hope there’s one not too far from you! Blessings,
          Kathy

  16. Oooh, I feel for you (actually, I’d rather not..) I EVEN planted some when they were in bloom…what a mistake!! They have been a thorn in my side, too!! franki

  17. Renee Cook says:

    Good morning, Susan… I can so relate to your battle with blackberry vines! I am having the same issue; they pop up all over and their roots can run forever! I’ll just keep pulling and spraying in hopes of keeping them at bay! I love your bed with the Purple Coneflower and Coreopsis. I intended to plant Purple Coneflower this spring, but time got away from me. Thanks for sharing all the great ideas!

    • Renee, you can still plant it if you just keep it watered through the heat of the summer. Fall is the IDEAL time to plant perennials, though. Their little roots grow and grow during the fall, winter, spring and come Spring, the plant will come out so nice and big. So def plant some this fall!

  18. look at you…tackling the thorns! your walkway garden looks beautiful. of all the plants that I have planted, I have never planted the coneflower. Have a good week.

  19. Thanks for hosting Susan! We found a similar prickly intruder in our vegie garden. I don’t think they’re blackberries though, but they gave me quite a shock when I tried to pull them out! Your garden has grown a lot in a year, it’s all so lovely. I love the dainty yellow tickseed and the Russian sage. :)

  20. Here in the piney woods of east Texas we call those dewberries. You have to dig them out to get rid of them. They do make a good cobbler if you have tough enough skin to pick the berries.

  21. Thanks for hosting! Wow! Those blackberry bushes look dangerous! I don’t think I’ve ever seen how many barbs they have! I am always in awe of your beautiful landscaping! Hope you have a super week!
    Blessings,
    Nici

  22. I love the walkway to your front door Susan! We have a lot of blackberries growing on the lot across the road from us. Great during berry picking season but they love to try to intrude onto our property and they are really hard to get rid of. Thank you so much for hosting again this week.

    Blessings,
    Patti

  23. I can’t believe the tenacity of those berry vines, or yours. :)

  24. I think your friend is right – those look exactly like blackberry bushes to me. Too bad they’re in such a bad spot or you could be blogging about your fave blackberry jam recipe! ;-p I never realized that your front sidewalk is curved – I love it! And you just might have made me a new fan of perennials. Thank you for hosting, Susan.

    • Suzy, perennials are the best! I have to admit, I was so happy when they started coming up this spring. I had kind of forgotten about that flower bed and it was nice to see it fully planted without me doing a thing. :)

  25. Oh wow, Susan, that’s ONE invader I haven’t seen yet, thank goodness. Worse than kudzu gives a very descriptive mental picture. I was out this morning, JUST to cut back my buttercups, and ended up watering annuals, pulling choking vines that have found their way among my red twig dogwoods. Wild violets have taken over my mulch beds, but so far the perennials have managed to thrive over them. And poison ivy this year is awful – everywhere, little tiny sprouts. Like you, I go out with my armour, and it’s a never-ending job. Your perennials look great. Those shrubs look like otto luyken laurels – nice, year-round waxy leaf color. I had to actually move two in my garden – they can get really big! Thanks for hosting Met Monday – I tried a succulent experiment from Pinterest that was not quite what it seemed – nailed it, lol. Have a good week.

  26. Oh Susan, I couldn’t believe it when I saw your post for today! My husband and I spent at least an hour this weekend pulling and cutting out something that looks VERY similar to your blackberry bush. We ended up with about two piles of the stuff. You’re right — it’s a monster!!! The thorns are vicious and getting it out by the roots is almost impossible. The worst thing is that it sprouts up right through the middle of our other shrubs, so it’s very hard to cut it low to the ground or pull it out, and talk about unsightly! Why couldn’t it at least be in the back instead of the front yard? I’m a southerner through and through, but in the summer, our weeds are just the worst.

    Your perennial bed is so pretty! I love purple coneflowers, too, as well as the coreopsis and the Russian sage. It’s grown to a nice size this year. :) Thank you for hosting Met Monday and have a great day!

    Hugs,

    Denise

  27. Great garden shots! and man those thorns do hurt….No one in my neighborhood had a berry garden so for me it must have been the birds leaving some droppings! and your coneflower looks amazing! I usually cut about half the blooms and bring them inside and in 2 months I get more blooms so it doesn’t look so scraggly in the fall. Thanks for hosting the party!

  28. Ugh! That is a frustrating situation…and painful! I hope that you are able to eradicate it from your garden without much more effort, but it sounds like a tough plant to get rid of. On the brighter side, your garden does look lovely. I have a bed of purple coneflowers that I adore. I received one plant many years ago and we have split it so many times, it’s amazing. I also had coreopsis and I loved them, but in my area they are only biennials. Boo. So after two seasons they just didn’t come up anymore…oh well, at least the daylilies keep coming back! ;) Thanks for the party!

    • You’re kidding! I never knew that coreopsis could be a biennials. Kim, check to see if Coreposis Moonbeam is biennial for your area…that’s the kind I have and it does bloom every year.

  29. wow Susan, you have been a busy little bee….gorgeous flower garden….and I know those thorns hurt!!!! LOl
    Christine from Little Brags

  30. All the while when reading your post, it kept reminding me of that Steve Martin movie with that “man eating plant”….We are trying to do the same with having less deciduous plants in the yard and more perennials … love the coneflower plants…your gardens are looking so beautiful…Glad you survived that “man eating” plant!!
    Thanks for hosting Susan and have a great week!

  31. bobbi duncan says:

    Ouch, ouch, and OUCH! Boy, that sure brought back memories of wild blackberry picking days. Susan, never lose your great sense of humor, as it not only allows you to diffuse but also brings such joy to those around you-and, heaven knows, we can all use that in our lives. On top of your ability to beautifully decorate anything, you could be a wonderful comedian. All that laughter certainly started my day off in the right direction, so thank you very much. Your yard looks lovely, and I am a sucker for a winding walkway. Have a great day.

  32. Boy I’d be so angry at those blackberry bushes! I guess they must never be planted near garden beds or areas with shrubs like yours. I bet it came in with another plant or two that you put in years ago. I’ve had that happen. Sounds like you’ve been a busy one! The flowers look great- I love Russian Sage when it’s fully grown and flowering. I put mine in a spot where it has to compete for space and it never looks good. I plan to move it. I see all your plants have doubled up in size! Thanks for hosting!

    • I was thinking that too. Several folks said birds will eat the berries and then distribute the seeds everywhere, so I guess it could have been birds too. Either way, it is a pain for sure!
      My Russian Sage is having to compete a little, guess I better watch that. Thanks, Liz!

  33. That garden walkway is gorgeous. Thanks for hosting!

    Shannon ~ bohemianjunktion.com

  34. Keep an eye on that Russian Sage! They to will get out of control in a short time. They also attract lots of bees, and are on the stinky smelly side!

  35. Thanks so much for hosting Susan!

  36. Love your walkway! I once had a coreopsis like yours and it grew to be rather large. So pretty. Thanks so much for hosting and good luck with your monster.
    K.

  37. Susan ~ I had no idea what trouble blackberries were. I don’t blame you I would want it gone too! Your yard looks so pretty though. I am like you I like green color on my bushes/shrubs in the winter as well. However I love hydrangeas and they aren’t going to be green come January. Thanks for hosting! BTW, did you get the video I messaged you on New Orleans through Facebook?

  38. Your pathway is gorgeous Susan and I can’t believe how quickly your perennials grew in just one year. Thanks for hosting the great party once again and I look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to.

  39. Hello Susan,
    Have been battling Black Raspberries plants for almost 37 years. We have a brook running along our property; we let wild flowers grow on the banks resulting in attracting butterflies and birds of all kinds. But, our cross the street neighbor decide he wanted Black Raspberries for himself and thought the birds would enjoy too. He planted some bushes of these aggressive mean plants along his portion of the brook. AND THEY GREW AND GREW!!!! The birds would eat them, do their dropping and we got plants too!!!! The word “hate’ is very strong and a banished word for usage by our children when they were young, but they are grown and not living here any more, so I can say this….I “HATE” them. While weeding without protection would pull what I thought were innocent weeds but also had a dreaded BR plant. OUCHY, OUCHY!!!! Of course, over the years have learned to be on the lookout for them and more careful. The problem is, one doesn’t know will they will pop-up.
    Susan, want to thank you for sharing Max’s story with us and how he was a Norwegian Forest Cat. Our granddaughter’s Ollie (cat) passed after 16 years in November. He was given to her at the age of 2 1/2 and a wonderful pet. She missed him so and wanted another “kitty”. And so the search began. In April, they found Ziggy at a local rescue, he’s a Norwegian Forest Cat, 4 years old, weighs in at 18 lbs. and a smoke/gray color. He is beautiful in every way, temperament perfect, such good manners, very social to everyone he meets, and most importantly he adores our granddaughter. They are best buds. Allie will be off to college in the fall to begin her first year at the University of Maine in Marine Biology and we’re wondering and worried how Ziggy will react.
    Marlene

  40. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for a lovely party. I am glad you concurred the stickers…for a while.

  41. Juanita in OH says:

    That is an enormous task. I remember this monster from my childhood, in NY no less, and it wasn’t a pleasent memory. All the best and TFS.

  42. Oh, do I ever know what you mean about the blackberries! We’ve battled them for years. Fortunately ours are mostly in the back yard…now. I probably wouldn’t mind them in a few spots if the blackberries were big and juicy, but they’re little and seedy. Good luck with getting rid of them. Your new flower bed looks really pretty. It makes me want to enlarge the one by my walkway. Thanks for hosting another great party.

  43. Peggy Thal says:

    Now I know what that vicious weed is. I have those too and found out the hard way what large thorns they have. Right now I am having major vine problems. Vines growing on my vines and rose bushes. Also, weeds popping up in odd places. Just when one thinks everything looks so perfect -bam – weed pop up. Susan your path and garden looks beautiful !!

  44. Your front walkway is so pretty! Thanks for hosting once again!!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  45. Blackberries bring back great childhood memories!! Thank you so much for the link up party. Have a great day!

    • LOL What a variety of reactions to that table! If I were putting it together today, I’d nix the starfish votive holders on the corners to allow more open space…would probably cluster them around the centerpiece. It gave me a chuckle about the woman who threatened to quit following HGTV saying that the table was just for the wealthy or rich, or however she worded it. I guess she doesn’t realize the white plates are from Big Lots and were $19.99 for six, 5-pc place settings, the salad plates are from HomeGoods and were around $20 for all of them, the glasses are from Dollar Tree, so $1 each and I made the shell napkin rings with shells I found on the beach or bought in Big Lots. Shells in the centerpiece are found, too while on vacation and the cloth napkins were thrifted. I take that as a compliment though that she thinks it took a lot of money to create that table setting. :)

  46. Susan, do you do all your landscape maintenance? Your yard/garden is gorgeous, but it’s quite large and I can’t imagine how much work it must be to keep things well-maintained. Hubby and I have a small patio home lot to maintain, but even that is a lot of work. It’s about all we can do to water our plants and keep them barely alive in the hellish summer heat of Tempe Arizona.

    We pay a weekly landscape service to trim, mow, prune the trees, etc. Even though I don’t like shelling out money for the service, it’s better than spending hours and hours on weekends trying to keep up with the yard maintenance.

    I’m always very impressed by the energy and determination you put into your projects, no matter what they are.

    Have a great day. :0)

    • I used to do it all…did it for about 20 years, then my Honda lawn mower quit working. I took it to two repair shops here where I live…one of them I took it back to twice and they could never get to work again. It would crank up but as soon as I engaged the motor, it would cut off. I ended up hiring someone a neighbor was using in the meantime and since I was working 40 hours a week and blogging in the evenings, I never went back to doing it all. I miss the mowing, I really enjoyed that and it was good exercise. The folks I use are very reasonable and they mow, edge, blow, etc… They just come every other week. I love gardening but my yard has just needed some major work done so it took some of the fun out of it. I’m still at a loss what to do now with my backyard since the sod didn’t take back there. This is a large yard to care for by myself but I’ve always done it until a couple of years ago. I also did it at our old house and we lived there 7 years. I just love doing anything outdoors.

  47. Susan your hard work is truly paying off! The garden is really looking effortless, it looks like it all just occurred naturally. And that is no easy feat.

  48. Good Morning!
    Your walkway is stunning! Are the hedges you are taking down the ones that get the white flowers? I think they are called Gardinias. They smell very nice and turn brown if you touch the flower part. I can’t believe they loose all their greenery during winter. Where are you located?

    • Thanks, Jane! No, they aren’t gardenias. I love those, they smell heavenly! I have one planted near my garage. It was badly damaged this winter but is trying to make a come back. These bushes have very small white flowers…forgotten now what kind of bush it is, though I planted it myself ages ago. Anyway, it’s definitely deciduous, not a great choice for the front yard.

  49. Your walkway looks amazing Susan! I’m currently battling ‘Creeping Charlie’ so can relate to what you are experiencing with the invasion of the Blackberry bushes. Question: Could you tell me what the name of the two-tone, clumps of pink flowers are in the 11th and 12th pic down (as a Gardener I am not ☺). THANK YOU. -Brenda-

    • Thanks, Brenda! It’s called Heaven’s Gate Coreopsis. You can see it closer up in this post from last summer when I first planted the garden: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/creating-a-small-sun-loving-perennial-garden/
      I’m starting to wonder if the soil is too rich for it in that bed and maybe it’s “feet” are staying too wet. As soon as it came out this year, it sprawled out and fell over in all the rain we’ve been getting. The one on the other side of the bed is looking pretty pitiful…the harsh winter really hurt it, but there’s a tiny bit of it still left. I should probably fertilize it and encourage it along, now that I think about it. :) Will do that today!

      • …..and THANK YOU (again), Susan. Have taken note of its name and will definitely search it out. Wishing you a wonderful week.
        Warm hugs -Brenda-

  50. Thank you for hosting….

  51. Therese Payne says:

    Your garden is lovely, Susan. Living in the woods in the Pacific NW, I have become an expert at battling blackberries. 95 years ago, a botanist though they would be a good idea and now they are our most noxious weed. Seeds are carried by the birds, they can also reproduce from pieces of root and anywhere they touch soil, the vines will form a new plant. If you get them young, you can usually pull out the entire plant. But their roots will take hold fast and are then impossible to get out. When they decide to take up residence in one of my bushes or my perennial beds, I wait for a sunny, warm early fall day and paint the individual leaves of the vine with a blackberry poison, using a small paintbrush, taking care not to get it on any other plant. At that time of year, the roots are sucking up nutrients for the winter and they are the easiest to poison.

  52. Oh, Susan! Isn’t there always something with a yard? Regardless of what has gone on, your yard is gorgeous. I would not have recognized the blackberry bushes either. My front sidewalk would like to grow up to be like yours! Love that curved approach to your front porch.

    Thanks for the party,
    ~~Helen

  53. Susan, the monster blackberries brought back such great memories from my childhood. Our blackberry bushes stayed put for the most part…..it was out in west Texas, so the heat probably kept them in check…..too hot for those roots to travel very far, I suppose! ;) We all just kind of sat around and panted, blackberry vines included! :)

    I fought the good garden fight in my backyard two weekends ago. It involved poison ivy, and I was NOT the victor. I should have bought stock in Calamine lotion. :D

    Your front walkway is beautiful- thank you for sharing the photos.

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