Do Your Plant Homework
Another one to file under lessons learned: Plants grow, especially vines. You need to know what spreads and reseeds, like the rose of Sharon shrubs that now come up everywhere. Chinese lanterns are so invasive that I pull out as many as I can and cut what's left, and I still have lots. I also learned I don't like to baby plants; if something doesn't survive the winter, that's it. Three fig trees didn't make it, so now I have fig trees in pots and wheel them inside when it turns cold. Shown here is a pink-and-white 'Nelly Moser' clematis vine that climbs the front yard's curved iron trellis, which also holds an old tin birdhouse.