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Avoiding entanglements is a war I wage every Spring. Each year as Winter wanes and my shrubbery comes back to life, I battle two invasive vines, Virginia creeper and moonseed vine. They have become my nemesis which I fondly call “the vine that mocks me”.

First Signs

I first discovered “the vine that mocks me” several years ago as the shrubbery surrounding our pool matured and became dense. At first glance everything looks fine and then you see it. This lush green vine poking through branches where it doesn’t belong. With closer inspection, you see that the vine is fully entangled around the branches from root to top.

Shrub with Virginia Creeper at top

Immediately I begin pulling the vine from the shrubbery. It is actually very easily pulled out, but getting to the root is a different story. By the time you can see it, it is so intertwined in the shrubbery’s root base that you can’t get to it. So, I temporarily win the battle but the war wages on.

The South Carolina weather and my dense shrubbery provides the perfect habitat for these vines to keep coming back. Also, my neighbor only visits their house a few times a year and every shrub and tree in their yard is entangled with the stuff. The wind and birds help it propagate and it just keeps spreading!

Robby teases me and says “you know it’s going to come back” and yet I still keep pulling. In fact, it is strangely satisfying to get a nice grip on it and “set my shrubbery free” from its entanglement.

Why Bother

Some might ask “why bother”? Well, here’s why! These vines are invasive. Their entanglements have the potential to choke out the host plant by cutting off access to sunlight and nutrients. Left alone, the vine will overtake the shrubbery and eventually it will die.

I keep “pulling” because I want my shrubbery to thrive. It provides privacy for us and homes to many birds and other creatures native to the area. Also, if I’m really honest, I can’t stand seeing this vine sneak its way in and thrive at the expense of something else.

A Little Like Life

Life has entanglements too. The definition of entanglements is a complicated or compromising relationship or situation. Pretty sure everyone can think of situations or relationships that fit this description. We humans have a natural propensity for complicating things!

These relationship are unnecessarily difficult and complicated. Boundaries become blurred and the emotional well-being of one or both people is at risk. You see “relationships” involve mutual respect and effort. “Entanglements” on the other hand, often look like a relationship but they lack harmony. They have a pattern of repeated problems and “taking” without ever “giving back”.

Just like the “vine that mocks me”, these “fake” relationships sneak in and intertwine themselves into our lives. Eventually, one or both parties become “drained” and “suffocated”. The end result is destruction and the invader moves on to their next “host”.


The best thing to do about invasive vines or relationships, is pruning. Cutting off the vine at or close to the root and treating it with a herbicide is the only way to control it. And, in addition, you may have to do it more than once.

You see pruning is good for the health of the plant/shrub. It helps prevent infection, removes unwanted branches or “vines”, strengthens the structure and keeps the plant looking beautiful.

The same can be said with relationships. Sometimes they need a little pruning too. Healthy relationships/friendships flow easily and aren’t complicated and difficult. If they are, perhaps its time to take a close look at the root issues and decide what can be resolved and what cannot. Don’t waste time and energy on an “entanglement” that will never be a real “relationship”.

Final Thoughts

Avoiding entanglements isn’t always easy. Like “my vine” they can sneak their way in without you even realizing it. Good boundaries create space for honest, healthy and strong relationships. Don’t be afraid to do a little pruning – removing what’s unwanted will only strengthen you and improve your well-being.

Leave me a comment, I would love to hear your thoughts about entanglements in the garden or in life!


  1. What a fantastic analogy Leigh! What you say about pruning is spot-on – “Good boundaries create space for honest, healthy and strong relationships. Don’t be afraid to do a little pruning – removing what’s unwanted will only strengthen you and improve your well-being.” ….And on another note, Virginia creeper is invading our space right now…. We have a bank covered with periwinkle, but right now, the periwinkle is covered by the Virginia Creeper.😡 It’s time for me to start doing some pulling! Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Terri thank you so much for your comments! I am so glad my thoughts resonated with you. I completely agree that we must do some pruning in lives just like our gardens! Sorry about your “vine” invasion …. happy pulling! Best Wishes! Leigh

  2. How I wish I COULD fight against the invasive grape vine that encroaches on the trees and undergrowth behind our house! But our property slopes steeply downward to a creek bed. I’d surely fall if I tried to climb down there to pull at the vines and try to get at the roots with herbicide. It breaks my heart that all of us who live on either side of the creek are victims of the plight! You’ve drawn out a perfect analogy from tangled vines to tangled relationships. You are right Leigh: We shouldn’t waste time and energy on an “entanglement” that will never be a real “relationship”.

    1. Nancy thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am so glad that this post struck a cord with you. Isn’t it true that the things we need to purge are often difficult to reach. Good luck with your encroaching vine and Best Wishes always ! Leigh

  3. You have a strategy for getting after that vine! My “nemesis” is the deer. They like to stare at my garden and taunt me as to whether they will chomp away at it in the middle of the night while I’m sleeping LOL

    1. Christy I am laughing but feel your pain! It’s the taunting whether vines or deer that is so cruel! Perhaps your deer could feast on my vine … now that’s a solution and a win win! Lolol. Have a great week! Leigh

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