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Growing Russian vine
Many years ago when I was a landscaper in London, I had a regular client who had a tiny garden in Wandsworth. It was literally one flower bed, a small shed and a wall topped by a chain link fence.
The reason we had to keep returning was because, at one point in the evolution of man, some bright spark a couple of doors down had planted a Russian vine (aka mile-a-minute vine, Chinese fleecevine, Polygonum baldschuanicum or, latterly, Fallopia baldschuanica). This had grown all the way along the chain link fence to colonise at least eight neighbouring gardens. It was now so thick that I could comfortably walk along the top of the fence like a tightrope walker.
We could have cut the whole thing down, but there was a further problem. The growth, though excessive, served to block out the view of the neighbouring warehouses and sundry tumbledown sheds, so it was decided that the best solution was to visit twice a year, armed with sharp secateurs and a lot of bin bags.
Behold the dilemma presented by this plant: on the surface it is an excellent idea – fast growing, popular with bees, long flowering (it will happily perform for months) and reliably tough in all situations. However, it is also as untameable as a coach load of Visigoths on the razzle. In short, beware: plant it only when you have enough elbow room for it to do its stuff but, if you do have a large and distant eyesore to conceal, then you cannot do much better.
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