The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section VI. Vines and Climbing Plants

Virginia Creeper in American Forests

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In the American forests nothing adds more to the beauty of an occasional tree, than the tall canopy of verdure with which it is often crowned by the wild Grape vine. There its tall stems wind themselves about until they reach the very summit of the tree, where they cluster it over, and bask their broad bright green foliage in the sunbeams. As if not content with this, they often completely overhang the head of the tree, falling like ample drapery around on every side, until they sweep the ground. We have seen very beautiful effects produced in this way by the grape in its wild state, and it may easily be imitated. The delicious fragrance of these wild grape vines when in blossom, is unsurpassed in delicacy; and we can compare it to nothing but the delightful perfume which exhales from a huge bed of Mignonette in full bloom. The Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) is another well known climber, which ornaments our wild trees. Its foliage is very bright and shining, and the orange-colored seed-vessels which burst open, and display the crimson seeds in winter, are quite ornamental. It winds itself very closely around the stem, however, and we have known it to strangle or compress the bodies of young trees so tightly as to put an end to their growth.