The Case of Nightshade

This may be my first year of true gardening, but I am in no way a complete beginner. If anything I would say so much that I know more about gardening than the average person, but still would consider myself an amateur. This level of knowledge can be summed up that if lost in a forest I would not die quickly of stupidity. One plant I am well aware of is Deadly Nightshade. (Thank you Dame Christie, for your use of Atropa belladonna.) So when this strange plant appeared in a rather run-down part of the garden, where the wood is stored, with a strangely beautiful flower dangling from it I was interested. It was a deep violet with a little yellow protrusion beneath it.

Nightshade?
Herein about five different stages of the flower can be seen from closed to fully open, exposing the yellow interior.

After much debate, I’ve come to the conclusion that what I have here is related to the ever famous nightshade, Solanum dulcamara. However my decision of what the plant was did nothing to ease my debating. Besides the vegetables, I took to sow many flowers in my garden this year. More precisely, I took to plant my smaller, well-spaced flowers for areas I wanted to leave open. I still had spots I wanted thick with flowers, climbing vines, etc, were still open. So when a plant came along just as I wanted, and it happened to be pretty I didn’t want to remove it. However it wasn’t the poison that brought down the guillotine; it was the speed.

When I first noticed the plant when dealing with the wood pile, they covered a perfect section of fencing by which I wish to put a bench as a linden tree in my yard and crab-apple tree in the neighbours keep the spot wonderfully dappled with light all day excepting about two hours around high noon. In the two days I debated keeping the vine  it conquered some two foot on either side, and began to spread horizontally across the ground. I do not think this is the average growth as that rate would infest my whole yard in a few weeks. Nonetheless, the speed was enough for me to tear the whole lot out.

Now I’ve an empty section of fence, a bag of poisonous vines, and the stench of something dead I unearthed. Despite that, I purchased a grape vine to put on the fence. Now one would think that would be a great idea to switch a poisonous plant for something edible, but (and perhaps this is simply paranoia) Solanum dulcamara is particularly steadfast in its regrowth. So, even though I thoroughly dug out the roots, I could not bring myself to plant the grape. It now resides in a pot up by the house… not exactly the perfect grape habitat.

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