When Ivy Strikes
Before The Change
In the year 2006, I bought a house near the river in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is an older house, built in the 1960s.
The lady who owned this house before me had gardening as her hobby. She worked the yard every day, and the results were a thing to be admired by those drive who by the area. When she sold her house, I bought it, not really knowing what I was in for, but with all intent of at least trying to maintain it as long as I could.
When you do not know what you are in for, all the good intent in the world does not help. I went around the house, took pictures of all the individual plants, wrote notes on what they were and how to care for them, and did my best to find out what all I needed to do to maintain the yard as it was.
Unfortunately, it turned out to also be a place where poison ivy grows. Although I had never been sensitive to ivy before, I found that the sensitivity became worse over time and with more exposure. This rashes became worse with each exposure. Year by year the cases got worse, with the rash of 2011 developing into open oozing sores that eventually turned into scar tissue. I could not keep either the ivy or the rash under control.
Gradually I turned to others to help take care of the the yard, and only went out occasionally to take care of the things I thought I could take care of without catching the itch. As the ivy grew worse, so did the original look of the yard.
One week in August 2011 I worked in the yard, trimming back a few bushes, and removing some morning glory. When I went into work a week later, the ivy rash had begun, and had turned into deep welts on my neck and ears, and was beginning to spread to my face. When the bosses at work saw it (I was far uglier than normal), they said: “Jim, go home. Go see the Doctor. Come back when it’s gone.” My coworkers were afraid I would spread it to them.
It is not a good thing when a hobby leads to doctor bills and time lost from work. You lose twice over, failing to work the time you expected to work, and having a bill on top of it. So, in early September 2011, removal of the beautiful yard began. It had gradually grown worse over the years as I tried to find and eliminate the plants that did not want me working in the yard. It was time to eradicate the poison ivy and many of the plants it liked to hide in. It was sad.
Time for ChangeClick thumbnail to view full-size
First Step - Remove a lot of plants.Click thumbnail to view full-size
The plan for change is a two stage plan.
During the first stage, a LOT of the plants were removed, and the areas were treated. Bushes in front of and to the side of the porch were removed. many plants in the back yard were removed. This was part of what needed to be done to get ready for the second step. Results are shown below.
Work was done by Erik, Fred, Green, and Oliver. They are all from Affordable Landscaping of Bealeton, Virginia.
After the photos above, Craig, Fred, and Teddy did some final clean-up on removing roots around the front porch..
Second Step - New GrassClick thumbnail to view full-size
After a few weeks the crew moved on to the second step of the transformation. In this step, Diane and Fred and Green came out to put down sod to rework the yard side of the driveway. This added more grass area under the dogwood, turned the small area in front of the porch into a grass area, and changed the mulch area that was under the kitchen window into a grass area. This also involved resetting the stones in front of the porch that are the walkway to the driveway. Two trees were removed from the backyard part of the driveway between the first two visits.
Black Helicopter Checks the Garden
We have all heard of the infamous black helicopters. This one appears to be a fly-by gardener, checking out the latest changes around the house. Or - it could be they were thinking about fishing out there on the river.