Invasion of the golden hop

by Adam Pasco

When I first planted a golden hop against my arch some 15 years ago it was a well-behaved youngster...

Adam Pasco pruning a golden hop, Humulus lupulus 'Aureus'When I first planted a golden hop against my arch, some 15 years ago, it was a well-behaved youngster. It appeared to understand the rules, as set out in the Code of Conduct for Garden Climbers. Once my golden hop reached its teenage years, however, it threw out the rulebook, and decided on a takeover bid. 

Left to its own devices, my Humulus lupulus 'Aureus'­ knew no bounds. It surged onwards and upwards, comfortably covering the arch, and not stopping there. Once they reached their maximum height those long and twining golden shoots, with their slightly rough surface, then spread sideways, over and through a photinia growing alongside the arch. Clearly enjoying this taste of freedom, my golden hop then grasped the branches of my wedding cake tree, obscuring it in a spiralling, golden overcoat. 

When will plants learn to take 'no' for an answer? Sometimes the only solution is to take them to task with a pair of secateurs. When I think about it, so much of gardening is really a game of 'space invaders'. The patch of phlox spreads ever wider; topiary does its best to undo my finest manicuring; weeds and other 'self-seeders' fill any space they can find...

Note for diary, early June 2010: clip back golden hop before it smothers its neighbours!

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Gardeners' World Web User 29/06/2009 at 14:48

I have a Golden hop and I love it. I butcher it every year right to the ground and it comes back beautifully. The more freedom it gets, the more it demands.

Gardeners' World Web User 30/06/2009 at 09:18

A golden hop has just been planted at the back of a church garden I help care for. i already know how much cutting back the four-year-old one in the botanic garden needs so will be prepared for hectic pruning. Golden hops themselves mke lovely flower arrangements and decorations when dried so perhaps the answer is to use them. After all, the best way to stop a plant being a weed is to find a use for it, especially if it is commercially viable.

Gardeners' World Web User 30/06/2009 at 11:27

I wondered why my brother in law gave me a rooted cutting from his.... He muttered something about having a garage under there once! So far it has died down in the winter and resprouted the next year - this being the second season in the ground. Will it carry on doing that?

Gardeners' World Web User 30/06/2009 at 11:43

My next door neighbour planted a golden hop about16 years ago and it sulked for 2 years and refused to grow.She dug it up, passed it over the fence to me and I planted it literally only two feet from its original position but now north facing instead of south. It romped away and swiftly covered an aviary as I intended.It gets chopped back every winter and repeats its job every spring.Wonderful nesting site for Robins.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/07/2009 at 01:31

I am invaded year after year from a triffid from over the railway bank it strangles every thing in site and forces itself through my greenhouse breaking the glass and strangling everything in site, nothing kills it, 35 years it's been my night mare.why would you plant it in the first place.

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