I am SOOOOO sore, but triumphant. For I have finally managed to find the core of one of my strongest opponents - Seymour the rosebush.
Seymour's a beautiful white rugosa that the previous owners let run rampant all over the bottom corner of the front yard, eating everything in his path like his namesake. It was half again my height, and more than 20 feet around, and on a slumping slope just to make it real fun. Just trying to prune the prick (I hope you see what I did there) requires Kevlar gloves and denim armor, and even then you are bleeding for it. And the thing required deadheading four times a summer at the end of just about every branch to keep up with it's blossoming.
Now that Fire and I spent two hours digging deadwood, black berry vines, and two other plants that were placed way too close he's a proper dome shape, and sunlight can actually reach the ground. And even after all that he still had a surprise for us. We've discovered he was actually three separate bushes; I found the graft stump from when they were each bare-root bagged.
Now each one of those three bushes have enough room to grow properly. I'll add a few spreaders to give the live canes the proper spacing to grow out properly in all directions, and in a year I hope he will no longer be my arch nemesis. He's always going to be a jerk to deal with due to his teeth and claws and explosive growing habits, but I'd like to get him to at least frenemy status.
He has a sister I've named Bloody Mary due to her matching deadly armaments and sprays of gorgeous deep wine blossoms. She was a little easier to get under control, because she'd been mostly killed. So after last year's work to get rid of her deadwood and get her in line, she just needed a proper seasonal trim to put her on a good path to re-grow properly.
I also tangled with the two lignum vitae on the other side of the driveway, and Fire got in there with the loppers and fired the opening salvos for this summer's bitter territorial struggle with the blackberries coming out of the stormwater drainage pond and chunked up that big winter-killed branch from the tree in the back yard.
But this is just the first engagement of the summer. We will be victorious, and it will be gorgeous! Next battle: my puling, asthmatic excuse for a weedwhacker.