Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Love Ivy?

I love ivy. I love holly. I love holly and ivy. So much so that my nice husband planted lots of both when we bought this old farmhouse in 1990. Within a few years we had enough of each to use generously in decorating for Christmas--ivy dipped in liquid floor polish makes stunning greenery to use at Christmas.

Eventually the ivy grew into a Christmas tree shape around a light pole. You should see it when covered in snow. Every once in a while the barber has to give it a little trim and December is the perfect time for this.


Then it covered the well house, almost looking like a large topiary animal draped across it.


Guess where else R.H. planted it? My husband's wife talked him into planting it around the base of the big, large, huge elm tree. His pride and joy. The tree that sold him on this property.

I thought that all that bare bark hulking beside the deck could be improved on, prettified. R.H. didn't think so, emphatically he did not think so. He thought it would hurt the tree. I convinced him that as long as we kept it trimmed to about head-high there would be no problem. Absolutely no problem. So he planted one flat of ivy at the base. And it was so pretty.


Remember that old song about turning around and your kids are all grown up? Ivy does that too when you're not looking. R.H. did take a good look at it one day, and I guess you could say he blew his stack. He spent hours, hours hacking away at that ivy as far as he could reach on a ladder.

Did you know that ivy's vine can grow really big, and tough, like a rope? It does. But I hope it doesn't have ears because it sure heard some sailor's language when R.H. was destroying it.

 Then it was time to call in the younger generation.


Time for our sons to help Dad out when he rejected Mom's idea to just let the remaining ivy dry up and die. Any further ideas from me about ivy and R.H.'s pet elm tree were obviously not going to be entertained, at all.

Gurn and Zack erected the scaffolding. And then they began meticulously cutting it away piece by piece.


Higher.


And higher.


What do you want to bet that this was a fun job? Think they might have been a little hot and sweaty when they finished? Felt like bugs were crawling on them for days?

The men at Valley View smiled at me again, after a few days.

The elm tree was a little scarred in places but there was no more ivy digging into it.


Now it's forgotten all about having creepy ivy crawling all over it. It's happy again. R.H. is too, only I don't dare tell him about a pretty vine I saw a picture of on a blog.

Maybe if I kept it far away from his elm?


The moral of this cautionary tale?

You might not want to grow ivy on trees?

You might want to listen to your husband, especially if he was in the garden center/nursery business for most of his life?

It's not easy being green?

Take your pick.

19 comments:

  1. Wow! Those pictures of your young men on scaffolding up in that huge tree are AWESOME! I love ivy, too and have planted it along a fence next to my neighbor. It was pretty a couple of years and then it took over my neighbor's yard! Opps! I can image the snow covered Christmas tree/pole is just beautiful at night!

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    1. Keeping ivy tamed is a big job. I lived to regret it. Even now it's a constant battle to keep it from spreading in the yard. Maybe this post will keep someone from making my mistake!

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  2. Hi Dewena,

    Ivy and holly are so pretty; they are both favourites of mine, mostly for nostalgic reasons. That being said, I have to say that the gorgeous, strong elm is definitely better without it. The picture with the close up of the trunk and the two houses on the left is so beautiful!!

    I remember as a little girl, walking to school and being so enchanted by the ivy covering many stately homes. It made them special; they seemed protected and precious at the same time. It felt romantic and I would imagine the ladies of these houses to be pretty, petite and polite.

    I tried to convince my husband to do the same, some 35 years later, but he said that it would make the exterior weak and start to affect the pipes, etc. I took his word for it, after all, he IS a contractor.

    I followed this with a plea for red bougainvillea but he claimed that it would fall into our neighbour's pool (not to mention our own), and he would not have that. My passion for these climbing vines has not subsided, I will forever dream about their beauty and character.

    Hope you are enjoying your newly coiffed cutie!

    Poppy

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    1. I loved reading about your memories as a little girl. I too always love pictures of the stately ivy-covered houses. I wonder how they keep it from destroying the house? And it must need constant trimming away from windows and doors. But they look magical, storybook.

      I guess we need to listen to our husbands, especially in their areas of expertise, don't we?

      Thank you, Poppy!
      Dewena

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  3. Ivy and holly ....a great idea for decorating. Lucky you to have it available. I planted a boy and girl holly when I did the landscape last summer but the deer almost completely ate the boy holly to the ground but left the girl alone. That ivy project must have had you holding your breath the whole time. Don't you hate it when hubby is right...just joking.

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    1. That's strange, isn't it? I wonder why they left the female alone? We have deer but they don't come that close to the house. We have had a couple of years where a late April freeze means no red berries for Christmas.

      Yes, Peggy, but sometimes they hate it when we're right! Not about on trees though.
      Dewena

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  4. Wow I have almost forgotten about that. That was sure a job! Also kind of like the bamboo and the horse tails that we planted and then they took over and we keep cutting out. lol

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    1. Yes, we ought to warn people about bamboo and horse tails too! What were we thinking? You, Zack and Dad were great to fix that dangerous problem but I wish you'd never had to.
      Love you,
      Mom

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  5. Wow! That sure is a giant job. How nice to have sons who will help. Our office has a walnut tree that you almost can't see because of the ivy growing on it. Of course, you know the tree is there when the walnuts start falling! Love your "Christmas tree" and ivy covered well house. laurie

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    1. I don't know what we would do without our kids' help throughout the years. They can do just about anything. They probably won't volunteer to come climb up in your walnut tree though!
      Dewena

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  6. I had forgotten about that too! It was so scary being up that high! And we didn't wear safety harnesses or anything! Lucky that Gurn or I didn't fall and break our necks!! I remember feeling so gross and itchy too! I think my brother and I would both say no to that task again! :-)

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    1. And I sure wouldn't blame you for saying no! I can still remember how far away y'all looked, and then how you hated going back up again after a break. And thinking bugs were crawling all over you. My brave guys.
      Love you,
      Mom

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  7. LOLOLOL!
    my laugh for the day.
    but i am breathing a sigh of relief for that blessed elm tree.
    how wonderful to have strong sons.
    and to follow zack's comment on it!!! LOL.
    and you are not going to believe this next... but my bob was a landscape designer and we owned our own nursery of specimen plants and trees to incorporate into his designs!
    yet another similarity! i swear girl! amazing. xoxo

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    1. Yes, a sigh of release for the elm and for my guys' necks! I am so darn lucky to have them pull the old chestnuts out of the fire!

      Wouldn't your Bob and R.H. have loved meeting and talking about plants? I know they would. Like I said, Tammy, we do have so many things in common!
      Love to you and stay out of that heat in OK,
      Dewena

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  8. Oh, Dewena...I think the moral of the story is to listen to your landscape husband!! And I totally loved your tip about dipping ivy in liquid floor polish! And your sons and all that dangerous scaffolding? I can't imagine all that worry! Congrats on undoing...kinda like undecorating :)

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  9. Very definitely it is the moral, Becky! And I get even more butterflies in the stomach feeling looking at the pictures of Gurn and Zack up on that scaffolding than I did standing on the ground and looking up at them while they worked up there. Crazy, wasn't it? But their guardian angels were at work that day, as they often are with those two. Now they have a lasting record on the blog to prove they did this crazy thing for Mom and Dad.

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  10. I had ivy on a tree once and we had to cut it away like this. I now have ivy in small pots only and I prune,prune, prune. Love that sun light shot.

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  11. That last photo was stunning Dewena. I planted lots of ivy too and now I have to tame it back once in a while. It is getting rather aggressive lately. Those photos of your boys way up on that scaffolding were amazing. I would have been driving my guys crazy telling them to be careful. They would have told me to stay away until they finished. I can't wait to try dipping my ivy. I have cut some before for Christmas but it always dried up. Now I know the trick! Thanks, Pam

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  12. Amazing! The story and photos as well!

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