Last weekend, despite the heat, I was moved to make and implement a major change to the back garden. About 15 years ago, I planted a grape vine. It took a few years to establish itself and then had a few years that harbored promise. There were a couple of spectacular years with perfect clusters of sweet grapes so bountiful l shared liberally with both friends and the birds, while still having a marvelous abundance for myself. For the past three or four years, though, the grapes have been pretty much only for the birds. The vine was breaking up the lattice of the fence and providing a tangled bridge for weeds from the completely untended yard adjacent to mine to climb. The whole tangled mess shaded and blocked from rain precious planting space. It was also becoming a time-consuming maintenance activity.
The kiwi similarly was a noble and ambitious experiment for a tiny urban garden. But it was an overwhelming thug and only bore fruit generously once in eight or nine seasons the last of which was three years ago.
Oh how exquisite the kiwi berries were when there were any. It was time to recognize, with space and light and water and time so precious, that memories of delicious times did not warrant the resources the grape and kiwi consumed.
I ruthlessly cut the vines back to the ground. They may or may not try to grow back, and if they do, I may or may not try allowing them back, but as a controlled espalier. I kept most of the woodier vines and will integrate them into the trellisses and other supports.
The hops vine given to me as a present this spring grew inches within hours of getting more light and space. I look forward to cool weather planting and new delicious offerings from the garden.
Could there be a lesson from this experience applicable to other aspects of life? Perhaps.