The Silver Lace Vine. Or, as this one is called, the Golden Silver Lace Vine. The new growth in spring bears colors more often seen with Japanese maples.
Shrimp-pink stems, lemony-tart leaves. Tangy. (Guess I’m still hung over from Sunday brunch.) Also goes by Fallopia baldschuanica.
For a few years this polygonum has grown into a Chinese fringe tree, Chionanthus retusus, all puffy clouds of fluttery white flowers in spring. The vine was to add its foamy trusses of tiny white flowers for late summer and fall, or such was the plan, but by summer I’ve completely forgotten the vine exists, so completely and stealthily has it infiltrated the tree’s canopy. Vine and blooms are high aloft and out of sight by fall. My neighbor on the other side of the fence, the east side, has the best seat for the show. I see nothing, unable to get a decent vantage point in this tiny garden. Occasionally, in late summer, I’m startled by the sight of it as I drive home from the east. Would you look at those flowers pouring out of that tree! Oh, right, that would be my fringe tree and fleece vine.
So this year I’m inquiring if the vine wouldn’t perhaps mind growing tangled on a trellis at eye level and not beat feet into the upper reaches of the fringe tree. I’m asking very politely. You don’t want to make a knotweed angry.
I’m joking, of course. Despite their fearsome reputations, there do exist well-mannered knotweeds. This golden-leaved, sterile form is surprisingly tolerant of the dryish summer conditions under the fringe tree. Morning sun is best so the leaves won’t burn, deciduous, cut back to about 4 feet or so in December or January here in zone 10. The ropey, corkscrew stems have been recruited for holiday wreaths or, as in here, twisted around succulents baskets. Just too cool to discard.
This vine may be sneaky, delicately wending its way into the recesses of the fringe tree, but rampant it is not. Still, now in its third or fourth year, this scheme to confine it to a 6-foot trellis may be a bit naive. And what self-respecting vine would prefer a dinky garden trellis to embracing its destiny on the limbs of a sturdy tree?
(Edited to add: This vine was consolation for banishing the golden hops vine, Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus,’ capable of unimaginable feats of garden thuggery.)