After the last two weekends of pulling ivy, I’m fairly positive Lovecraft was nothing but a gardener with a poor imagination and a good friend who told him to add teeth and tentacles. This is a dark and malicious plant. We have a pile of ivy roots taller than the dogs and we haven’t gone past a small 20 x 20 plot of the front yard.
The hacking and the slashing and the pulling and the … well, the horror, really, is that there is very little progress to be seen. We’re exhausted but the ivy stands firm. There is some progress in removing the ornamental bushes for replanting; since a large portion of the front yard has to be leveled, the bushes are either going to be tilled under or they need to be dug out and replanted. We’ve gone with the replanting option. I’ve cut back the foliage to the bare sticks, and we use an old iron root buster that’s been in Brown’s family for three generations to cut the roots and lift the bush out of the dirt.
If you’re unfamiliar with a root buster, it’s a thirty-five pound iron bar you drive into the earth repeatedly until you’ve cut a circle around the plant. Then you jam the bar under the plant and use it as a wedge to pull it out. The process is exhausting. I can do this twice per day before my arms refuse to work; once per day if I have to draw later and don’t want my hands trembling. Brown, who is in much better shape, can repeat this five or six times and then needs a nap.
There are approximately forty-five ornamental bushes in the front lawn alone, and I keep finding more under the ivy…
We bust a shrub out of the ground, peel the ivy from its roots and its base, and then wrap the root ball up in water-permeable garden fabric for replanting next month. It’s probably good that we’re doing this, as the ivy is so thick it’s nearly smothered some of the more mature bushes (noted with green landscaping paint, below):
We’ve been lucky as it’s rained the last few days, and ivy is easier to pull from wet ground than dry. But it would sure be nice to see some actual progress at some point because ivy? It’s a monster.