Last of the Golden Hop

 Climbing up the tree stump.
Victim Number One

I'm about to do serious battle with the Golden Hop. For over five years I have indulged this marauding teenager, allowing him (yes, the Golden Hop is male) free licence to roam and cover things in Middle Border.

A large tree-stump was the intended target, but when the Golden Hop stretched its roots out in the wrong direction and climbed up a couple of Pittosporums I wasn't unduly worried.

Pittosporum seedlings are abundant in my garden, and I use these trees to fill in spaces. Life is cheap, if you're a Pittosporum at Mooseys.

'Look at that naughty Golden Hop' I would coo. I'd take some silly photos of its naughtiness and smile. A plant with attitude and charisma - definitely welcome in my garden.

A Compulsive Social Climber?

The Golden Hop also climbed a neighbouring large flax in flower, and the effect was very artistic. The effect of its drapery in early Autumn was quite stunning.

I also thought that I'd found the perfect ground cover, as the Golden Hop started to creep over the soil. This garden was still full of gorse and broom seedlings, leftovers from the old hedge, so a ground-cover was quite welcome. So I thought.

 Climbing up the flax bush.
Victim Number Two

Warning bells started chiming when a gardening friend from England sent me a picture of his Golden Hop. No ground was covered in his garden - the Hop climbed up and over the hugest sturdiest pergola structure I'd ever seen, straining with the weight of the beautiful vines and leaves.

My large tree stump, the intended supporter of my plant, suddenly looked very small.

Meanwhile, sensing that things were getting a little out of control, I decided on an arbitrary limit for this brilliant ground covering plant. I built a new path, lined the edge with stones, said a few stern words to the Hop, and naively retired to enjoy the ambience.

 This beautiful purple rhododendron has had a very lucky escape.
Potential Victim Number Three

A Majestic Maniac?

Of course I was dealing with an absolute maniacal plant. This last summer has been the final straw. The Hop disregarded all my instructions, and started sending ominous shoots in the soil throughout the entire border.

It smothered the rhododendrons, crossed the path, stretching ever outwards, and upwards when it got the chance.

Sadly, this week in Autumn I am attempting to remove all traces of this majestic nuisance. Shovels and hand diggers (plus strong gloves and plenty of patience) should do the trick. If they don't I will have to call in a chemical consultant...

If ever I plant this golden thug again I now know it has a dark side. For now I'm going to hold a few little pieces of Golden Hop prisoner in a large pot, just in case I'm ever tempted to make the same planting mistake again (I will!)...