Sometimes you just have to rip things out. We've been trying to preserve as much as possible of the existing plantings, but the gardens haven't had a good pruning and clean out in a few years and there was this vine eating the front garden...
The offending maurader:
I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I suspect it to be a vinca vine. Ground covers are useful alternatives to mulch or mixed plantings or grass (which come to think of it is more or less a ground cover...). They spread and don't require much care. Beware what's implied by "spread" as that can mean aggressive and destructive invasiveness. Several years of neglect allowed this vine to take over the garden, engulfing neighboring plants, even beginning to choke itself. We uncovered lily groupings, an astilbe, and two sedums, one of which is in pretty poor shape.
Poor thing. Pretty bedraggled. I'll keep you posted on how it does. In total, we ripped out about a couple cubic meters of vine. The garden looks a little bare, but I think it's taken a good deep breath of fresh air. Maybe even a sigh of relief. Next to tackle are the dozens of tree seedlings, and no doubt the weeds that will try to fill the vine void. We will have to beat them to the punch. Or, rather, dirt.
The Koreanspice Viburnum is planted in the backyard where I can smell it here in the office this evening. In the chocolate box of unknown garden goodies, that for me is like a dark chocolate praline. Bliss.