Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thorny Encounters While Cleaning Up

Yesterday I took advantage of having some extra hands at home and we did a little clean up in the front woods.  All of these trees had fallen and many were quite brittle.  In addition to moving the fallen trees we had to tangle with vines.  Most of these vines were honeysuckle, Japanese honeysuckle, a good vine to be rid of.

 While moving one of the trees we were getting scratched and pricked.....after we put the tree on the pile I went back to see what was jabbing us.  Looks like some kind of Hawthorn, since it is a very small shrub, it is hard to tell what kind.  Check out those thorns!!
 I am married to someone who doesn't like things that have thorns (he does tolerate roses).  It is his desire that this shrub and any of its friends be removed.  Given this is almost invisible in the woods, I tend to agree as I would be the one who would walk into it.  These are sharp, long thorns....say good bye ----
 As the trees were being lifted up through the tangle of vines and other small trees, it was easy to manuever into the next property---- except for the Devil's Walking Stick grove.  Arailia spinosa is one thorny mess.  Yes, I know it is a native (as well as the Hawthorn) but if he comes into my yard, good bye! 
 We also have a few vines that have thorns.  Both are varieties of Smilax.  This one, Smilax bona-nox also has spines protruding from the edge of the leaf.  We all looked like we had had a battle with a wild cat trying to get trees freed from this vine!

Here's to hoping everyone is free of thorny issues in the new year!  Happy New Year everyone!

words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.


  1. I was afraid of the Aralia growing up, mainly because of its name. I love the Crataegus, but you can keep the Smilax.

    Happy new year to you as well. I have to work half a day, then come home to make hoppin' John then hopefully to bed. Too many years in the hospitality business have permanently jaded 12/31 for me.

  2. Happy New Year to you & yours.
    I think the vine {brier} that I have is the same as yours. Yep, it eats me up every time I get near it. It came up amongst my azaleas. It wasn't there before the leg break when I took care of my yard. Then boom it was there. It seems to travel under ground so that makes it more difficult to get rid of. Does your grow underground?

  3. Happy New Year Janet. I've been battling Smilax for 25 years. Its a man/plant epic battle--some years I get the advantage--some years not. After all these years I'd miss it if I conquered it.

  4. Ouch! Happy New Year Janet, and may you always have gloves robust enough to handle any thorniness in 2011!

  5. It will look wonderful once you get things cleared out. I hope those are the only thorny issues you face in 2011. Happy New Year!

  6. Ouch! Glad you had some extra hands for this cleanup, Janet. We have some kind of thorny wild raspberry growing out in back near my compost pile that I battle with every year, so I know it's no fun dealing with these thorny issues. May the New Year bring you no thorns, but only delight as you create your new garden.

  7. I'm with your husband-get rid of the thorns. I had planted a few hawthorns here but have since pulled them-no thorns for me. Happy New Year!

  8. Now those are some nasty looking thorns. I do not think I would want them around either.
    Happy New Year Janet!

  9. I hope you've both managed to remove the last thorn...although something tells me there may be another one (or 2) hiding under cover in your vast woods. Man, those thorny weeds and vines are so annoying! Even the 'natives'. There is something that's been trying to take over the garden in the middle of my front yard (we call it 'the center island') and it has been a fruitless endeavor trying to remove it! Hats of to you for the hard work and lets hope there won't need to be more of the same!

  10. I can't bring myself to love Devil's Walking Stick either. We have lots of Greenbriar vines and Blackberries here. I really hate Greenbriar. We have blackberries all around, in part because we can't keep up with it and in part because the Indigo Buntings love them. We enjoy the fruit but those thorns are bad news.

    Glad you had some help with the clean-up! Your plans of Mountain Laurel and native azaleas will be beautiful at the edge of the woods.

  11. I hope you too are free of thorny issues in 2011, Janet. :) Thems some mean looking pokers!

  12. Ugh. I have thorny things popping up all over the place down here along the coast - it's a common battle... don't see that first thing though (I'm happy to say), the one with the long thorns...yikes!

  13. Hope you all survived that thorny mess removal Janet. Happy New Year! :)

  14. Back in my country we always have to be careful of thorns in the garden, mostly from the bougainvillea, but also from the lemon and the cactus; They can be quite a hassle
    Happy new year!

  15. YIKES! Those are just flat scary looking Janet!!! Hope ya get them all so you don't get stabbed. I don't think poked is what you would get judging by the size of them.
    A very Happy New Year to you and your family.

  16. Happy New Year, Janet.
    I, too, have both kinds of smilax growing around here, and I hate the one with the bad thorns. The other one isn't so bad, and when sprayed with gold or silver paint, makes for a great addition to Christmas decorations.

    Always Growing

  17. I hate getting scratched by thorns, too! Great job of cleaning up while things are visible in the woods.

    Happy New Year!

  18. Happy New Year everyone,
    Les- I like the Crataegus but oh those thorns!! Think they are all on their way out.

    Lola- Briars are miserable, especially coming up through other shrubs. Will have to check their underground growth...maybe?

    Gene- Smilax is everywhere isn't it? Epic battle indeed.

    Janet- thanks! I am not sure whether there are gloves that thick enough for some of these thorns.

    Robin- thanks! Hope these are the only thorns too.

    Rose- I am glad to have had the extra hands as well, last one just left for her home. We have wild raspberries too, fun!

    Tina- thorns are sure rough to deal with. Hawthorns are nice trees and birds love the fruits.

    Lona- yes, I need to get rid of the thorns for sure!

    Jan- I think there will be more thorns every time I turn around. There will be lots more hard work. This forested front yard is a mess.

    Sweetbay-the blackberries are across the street, so I can leave them, but the front 'yard' needs to be free of Greenbriar. I look forward to planting some understory shrubs.

    Grace- Thems are CERTAINLY mean pokers. :-)

    Pam- think it is a common battle across the south. Think the Hawthorn is more in wooded areas.

    Racquel- yup, survived this round, more to come I am sure!

    fer- I was surprised to see the thorns on bougainvillea, didn't expect it.

    Linda- poked/ stabbed /jabbed, they all draw blood!

    Jan- the Smilax with the spined leaves is really rude! Not sure about spray painting the other for decorating, there are still thorns.

    Freda- thanks, we have lots more cleaning up to do. There will be pictures of before and after--- once we finish clearing.


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