English Ivy, Snakes, Clutter, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Star Wars’ Obi-Wan said it:  “The force is strong in this one.” He wasn’t talking about English Ivy but he might as well have been.

English Ivy creeps sleeps and leaps

English Ivy, a force of nature (and oh yeah, maybe even the Darth Vader of plants). Here it is, trying to take over the sidewalk.

Some plants may be well behaved at home, but transplant them to an environment that’s a little too hospitable and they’re off and racing.  That’s ivy. When house-hunting, I thought the yards covered in ivy were gorgeous. I thought ivy would be a low maintenance ground-cover. What’s a little trim from time to time, weighed against the watering and weekly mowing that grass needs, I thought. Think again.

This house has ivy in front, at the shady top of the hill. At first, I was all for planting more. Then I noticed how often it needed to be trimmed off the walks, how quickly it climbed the trees, and how the ivy from my neighbors’ yards encroached on all sides. “The first year it sleeps, the next year it creeps, the third year it leaps” — the saying goes.

It can also hold surprises “Snakes,” said an article in yesterday’s newspaper, “… are just now waking up and can sometimes be found in thick patches of ivy.” Following that were these quotes from the owner of a lawn care company:

“In Georgia, you’re only about 10 feet away from a snake at any given time.” 

“Snakes eat insects, rats and other vermin. Got a nice yard? Thank a snake.”

Snakes? I have made overtures. Here are some photos from a “Walk and Talk” program on snakes that Sam and I went to a couple of summers ago.

McIntosh Reserve Walk and Talk - Snakes

They’re about to give me a snake-y lick.

McIntosh Reserve Walk and Talk - Snakes

Sam gets to rattle a rattler.

Snakes aside, it occurs to me now that the indoor equivalent of ivy is clutter, yet another force of nature that sleeps and creeps and leaps, putting out tendrils of messiness. I’m striving to get both indoor and outdoor forces under control. I won’t be inviting any snakes to help with the indoors, though, but now that I think of it, didn’t the ancient Greeks have “house snakes”?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Force of Nature

McIntosh Reserve Park

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6 thoughts on “English Ivy, Snakes, Clutter, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

  1. Such a great interpretation to this week’s challenge. Ivy…no wonder it’s nicknamed poison ivy. They creep up behind you fast when you least expect it. Sneaky. Like a sleuth out to get you and overrun your garden with it’s stems and leaves until you feel like you’re caged up. Doesn’t look like you were afraid of the snake at all, Sandy. In fact, you look very curious and like you really want a piece of it. I hope it liked you.

    • Yes, poison ivy must be at least a first cousin. And it would like to take over too — I have to nuke it (spray it) when it comes up so I don’t touch it. And those were nice friendly snakes. Since I’m not familiar with all snake varieties, it’s comforting to be properly introduced.

      • You sound like a captain with that spray, that spray being your weapon of choice to defend your army. Glad you made friends with the snakes. Bet it was an experience to touch a different kind of skin, one that is not human. I’ve touched lizard skin before – very rubbery.

      • Yes, an experience! Surprisingly dry and cool. And yes, rubbery, not scaly like they look. Here, the lizards are so quick there’s no catching them to touch. Zip zip and they’re gone.

  2. Great post! I live in a big city (Montreal, Canada) so I very rarely see snakes…I have seen a couple of large ones in pet stores but never in the wild.

    • Oh, but you’ve got to see some snakes! Once when I lived in Kansas City we went to the park one Sunday and happened upon a meeting of the local Reptile Society — members were on an outing with all kinds of reptiles but mainly snakes. There were even pythons, which I’d always wanted to see — so maybe I haven’t seen pythons “in the wild” exactly but at least in the park.

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