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I Killed Off the Grape Vine Today

Or at least I think I did....hope I did. It was taking over the world and I saved you all from certain death. You didn't even know you were in danger.


I live in a 108 year old house that is what experts call a "Folk Victorian". It looks very nice and sedate sitting on West Main Street high on a river bluff overlooking the Missouri River... but it has been hiding a dirty little secret. There is an ancient grape vine lurking back behind the 1920s era garage that tries to take over the world each year. It usually succeeds at taking over the alley, much to the annoyance of my neighbors and, apparently, the city government. I go out and whack on it each year to get it back in the yard. Sometimes the city sends troops out to chop off it's tendrils and rescue anyone they find trapped in the vines.


This year has been different.  We have had a very wet year. Extremely wet...I'm starting to mildew. The vine has grown like never before. It not only took over half the alley but was working on the garage as well.  This is only June. I went out a few weeks ago and whacked on it but I only made it angry. 


It is devious. The vine always pretends that it is going to have grapes, which I would like, so I patiently wait year after year but the blossoms never produce and fall off. People tell me it is a male grape vine. What do I know? I don't know where you look to determine the gender of a grape vine. While I'm waiting for it to grow grapes it is actually getting ready to attack the neighborhood. This is like "Day of the Triffids".


Way back in the 1950s a little widow lady lived in the house. She was the cook for several of our state Governors...a really good cook. She had her kitchen garden back behind the garage and she grew all sorts of things for herself and even for the Governor's family. About a third of the back yard is escaped spearmint and it is almost intoxicating to walk through the yard...not to mention cutting the grass. There are blackberries that I also have to cut back but they are more polite than the grape. There are also some renegade peas and day lilies back there. The grape is planted so it will grow on the fence and is supported by several sturdy fence posts. I took some of the blossoms to a local vineyard and they agreed that it was trying to produce grapes but they had no idea what the variety was. I tried pruning and encouraging it to have grapes but it refused. I don't think she would have planted and nourished a grape vine that didn't bear fruit so I always had hopes of a grape harvest.


I admit that I feel bad about killing off one of God's really great creatures. That's how I look at it...not as a mere plant but a living being.  I will watch it to see if it tries to come back. I suspect it will try.


I think I hear something scratching at the back door....