I planted an aggressive climbing rose on purpose. There is a 3/4″ space between our circa 1940s chain link fence and the back of our neighbor’s shed. In this space lives an arrogant English Ivy. It knows that I won’t poison it. I’m an organic gardener and it is growing less than a foot from my raised beds. I have threatened it for years without success. It views me the same way that angry teenage boys view mall security cops.
The rose is my newest attempt to intimidate it. I hacked the ivy back as far as I could 2 years ago and planted the rose a few inches from fence. Each summer, the ivy pushed the little rose around. I had to step in several times with my pruning shears. The rose pouted and nursed its wounds.
This spring, the rose glared bitterly at the ivy from its corner as I pruned its nemesis. The rose had bent branches and yellowed leaves from its fights with the belligerent ivy. It seemed to flare its little rose nostrils with satisfaction as the compost barrel filled with ivy bits.
The ivy rolled its eyes. “Pruning me again, are you? Humans are amusingly feeble.”
I lifted a rose branch from under the nearby pear tree to tie to the contested ivy fence. Both the ivy and I gasped. It was 7 feet long and had a good 5 foot spray width. As I rooted around, I realized that this was only 1 of 6 branches that had grown to this magnitude this spring.
I fanned the thorny limbs across the chain link fence. The ivy cringed and backed against the neighbor’s shed. The rose cracked its knuckles. Be afraid, ivy. Be very afraid.