Monday, April 18, 2011

Poison ivy is a jerk

When we bought our first house, it did not have a single bit of vegetation planted in the ground (except grass--and I'm not entirely sure that wasn't just a giant bed of weeds, to be honest). I thought, "Great! We can do it the way we want it."


I learned very quickly that I have a black thumb. We all have our talents, right? One of mine is killing cacti, rosemary, and other plants people swear are "hearty." Pshaw.

Now at New House, BG and I are going to have to learn how to make our thumbs green. We have inherited a giant lawn full of flowering junk. And fruiting junk. And some plain old junk-junk. I live in fear of our yard, but there's no time like the present for a little aversion therapy.

This weekend, we tore into the gnarled web of poison ivy that was practically choking the life out of our mature crepe myrtles and red bud tree. The nerve of that invasive parasite, with its loopy nooses and winding knots around my lovely trees and threatening my defenseless children with its toxic foliage. I decided to show it who's boss.

The poison ivy we were dealing with wasn't little wispy strands that I could daintily pluck with gloved hands. This poison ivy was created by the makers of Jumanji. See?


I met my opponent with this hat and these hedge trimmers. And then I went straight-up medieval ninja jedi warrior all over that poison ivy's ass.

And here's where my story gets a little sad...

There was a beautiful mature azalea bush between two crepe myrtles in the side yard, but it was aiding and abetting the enemy.


According to my grandma--the voodoo mistress of all gardening knowledge--you have to get poison ivy at the root, or it will just come back to haunt you. The azalea bush had to go. It put up a fight, what, with its large woody branches. I think I even heard a little scream now and again--and possibly sobs. I explained that if it's not with us it's against us, and I used the word "strategery" a lot to explain why I was going after it. I also shouted, "I pity the fool who wraps itself around my trees!" because I get a little crazy and really into character when I'm wearing head-to-toe poison ivy PPE in 98% humidity in Louisiana.

I wielded my power trimmers with the confidence of an expert even though I didn't have a clue in heck what I was doing. That's the beauty of the American way--you don't have to KNOW, you just have to DO. I was dangerously close to losing life and limb at some points, I'm sure, but luckily the only casualties were the two extension cords BG and I severed. He and his dad were handy enough to splice them back together, and the extermination continued.

My two oldest children watched from the back door with fear in their eyes. "What are you doin' out there, Mama?" they asked repetitively in concerned little voices. "I'm LIBERATING our TREES, children!" I reassured them.
They want FREEDOM, even if they can't say so themselves!" The baby napped peacefully while I removed the toxins from her environment. And the two-year-old was just peeved that my work crimped his plans for the rad little bike path he created.

Today I can barely walk... or move. And the task is not yet complete to my satisfaction, if you can believe it based on this pic of the debris field.


Those trimmers were awesome but couldn't get to the quick of some of the root systems. On my list of things to buy this week:


Hey, poison ivy, I'm coming back for you. And azalea bush, if you get in my way, don't say I didn't warn you.


  1. hahhaa, you get those weeds, show 'em who's boss.

  2. I am so happy you are finally blogging and I really look forward to updates on the house project. About the poison ivy I have two words, ROUND-UP. Well, maybe it is one hyphenated word but, either way, it is my best friend.

  3. Can't wait to do the backyard!

  4. Please do not lose any limbs.

  5. We had one of those when we moved in. It only took two years to get rid of it for good. And the azalea will probably be back.