Tenacious Little Bugger

Hi – I’m a flowering quince.
Please ignore my lethally sharp thorns
while you admire my sculptural branchy beauty.

I’ve already extolled the perennial cuteness of the Hardenburgia vine that climbs up our side fence every February. But have I also mentioned its pernicious persistent clamouring up every vertical surface that offers the possibility of adherence?

Hardenburgia resembles, I’ve come to realize (even though I wait expectantly for its first blooms every winter during the coldest rainiest days), a hyper-horny mutt of indeterminate origins, climbing the leg of every stick of furniture and every human it can reach in the attempt to spread its genes around.

That’s what the Hardenburgia vines do, but at least they don’t poke their noses into places where they don’t belong, and at least they don’t lick you, leaving a residue of dog breath behind (can you tell I’m more of a cat person?).

The English violet is another plant that pokes itself into places you might think it doesn’t belong, but once it insinuates itself there, it looks so right it’s as if it had been there all along. What began as a six-pack of tiny little violet seedlings from the local nursery several springs ago has spread into a carpet of sweetly scented violets under the ancient pear tree in our back garden. Another plant for which I search every spring, for while the leaves are often evergreen in our climate, the temperature has to reach a certain comforting warmth before the blooms begin.

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