Battle in the garden … Veggies vs Flowers

This is the year of the white cucumber–the Crystal Apple variety to be exact. From a half dozen seeds I’ve throw in the ground, I only expected one or two to take. Apparently they all germinated because now cucumber plants are stretching the length of my front garden overtaking two yews, two tee-pees, three swirled stakes, and stretching their tentacles for the third evergreen bush.

A harvest of Crystal Apple cukes.

But here’s the thing: They’re also invading my beloved spider dahlia, and that’s not OK.

The cucumber overtakes the dahlia.


Every year one plant makes a statement in my garden and more often than not, it’s a fruit or vegetable that’s overtaking flowers. I used to let gourd vines trample my Volcano phlox, but no more.

I’ve gone to great extremes to keep the flowers and vegetables from strangling each other, but when full sun is at a premium, it’s easier said than done.

Two years ago, a volunteer Cinderella pumpkin sprouted next to my side door. For the one miraculous pumpkin it produced, I created an onion-bag hammock, suspended from a tee-pee and reinforced with rope stretched from the roof overhang, like some crazy Rube Goldberg contraption. It spared the heuchera below, so it was worth it.

So, who is going to win the battle of the garden—the tenacious cuke, that’s now suspending its white-orbed fruits like eggs from yew branches, giving them an Easter-tree appearance; or the graceful dahlia, which survived a winter closeted in a box under a blanket of vermiculite, only to be coaxed to bloom a second year?  We’re past the point of physical extraction, so it looks like I’ll be performing surgery with the shears very soon. Let’s hope Crystal Apple makes it.  –


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply