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Saturday Morning Spring Vigil (0514)

NYC, 108°, May 14, 2005, 6:45 a.m.


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Will those vines on the right-hand wall ever green up d'you think?

Sadly, no. It's English Ivy and it used to be, a couple of years ago, a beautiful green wall over there every Spring/Summer. An epic version of what you see at the bottom of the pic on my side of the wall.

But then the landlord of that far building decided, I dunno, the ivy was a danger to his property or something so he killed it. The pic gives the impression the vines are trying to leaf out, but what look like widely separated leaves are just places where the dead stuff is a little thicker than other places. It's just an English Ivy boneyard over there, I'm afraid.

Well, that's too bad. I suppose. If I sound ambivalent, it's because, down here in Virginia, English Ivy does a lot of damage by smothering native plants and ground cover and girdling trees. I was introduced to nastiness of the stuff when I bought my house.

There was ivy growing over the ground between the house and the driveway and on the foundation of the house. That was fine with me, it was green and kept the weeds away; but then, in my living room, I removed the cover from an electrical outlet, only to have a sprig of ivy pop out. Not some desicated, vestigial ivy, but a bright green happy sprig of ivy that was flourishing inside the wall of my house. My new house. My first new house. I began to feel very hostile towards the stuff.

I learned, after dosing the stuff with three different poisons, that in this climate the stuff is so well adapted that you pretty much have to dig it all up to kill it. My father and I spent three days digging, cutting, hacking, and sawing. The largest root we managed to get to was four inches in diameter. After all that, we still didn't manage to get it all, but we hurt it bad. Real bad. I've been able to control it since then, but it's still there, lurking.

(I should mention: I have a great Dad.)

I hope I don't have to actually say how much I love the image of ivy emerging from your electrical outlet. I do understand completely your horror at such a thing, and I suppose this emphasizes the difference between renters and owners. Renters are like: "Pretty!" Owners are like: "AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!"

I have to say I've wondered in the past why the owners of my building and the one next to it have allowed the ivy to crawl up the side of both buildings and lap over onto my terrace and the one next to me. But then they've done nothing about the kudzu taking over the other side of my building. That's less pretty, but provides a nice visual screen between my deck and the neighbors in the other direction.

Well, anyway, good luck in your war on ivy.

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