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mbumby
How does my garden grow 
7th-Oct-2007 12:57 pm
T-Shirt
Within the year after we moved into our house 10.5 years ago I learned that the prior owners had laid down black canvas and planted hyacinth & daffodils which come up early, and peonies which bloom much later. And the canvas meant "no weeding needed" which is perfect for me as I really don't have that kind of time.

Several years after that I learned that the canvas doesn't last forever. Ugh.

Last year & the year before I dug up all the violets that I could and gave them to a coworker who wanted them.

This year I have twice (once with help -- the spouse was removing weeds from somewhere else) filled the "yard waste" garbage bin. This morning that took two hours. I think I'm about half done pulling weeds and grass out of the garden-area. I am being completely indiscriminate, pulling even the violets and the Alexandria.

Found one plant I didn't recognize. It seems to be a vine that propagates by above-ground runners. I pulled out what I could. I eventually got to some leaves. Looked a bit like maple, but I know how maple trees grow and this isn't it.

Finally, pulling weeds and dredging my memory, I had a thought: Any bets on me having been rolling around in poison ivy all morning?
Comments 
7th-Oct-2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
Murphy's Law suggests that it's a certainty that you were indeed rolling in poison ivy. :-(
7th-Oct-2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
I do have some odd-looking welts, but no intolerable itching yet. (I have never learned to not-scratch, so I'm *really* hoping that doesn't change.)
7th-Oct-2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
I would think you'd have noticed a reaction by the time you got inside if it'd been poison ivy. Just in case, though, avoid soaking in a tub - you will spread it quite effectively that way.

Why pull now? Shouldn't the weather take care of them very soon?
7th-Oct-2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
Good to know -- thanks.

I have grass a foot and a half to two feet tall (it was taller than the peonies most of the year) and I expect that if I just let the cold take care of it I'll either have lots more grass there next year, or I'll have a matted rotten mess with all sorts of cooties living in it come next spring.

I really need to learn to fabricate time so that I'll be able to deal with it sooner next year.
8th-Oct-2007 05:58 am (UTC)
Have you considered pygmy goat(s)?
8th-Oct-2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
Hah! Really, I'd only need/want to rent one for a week or two, and I don't know of anyone local who offers that service.

Plus I'm sure that they're clever enough that they'd either get into the neighbors' yards (getting me in trouble) or eat parts of the house that I'd rather they didn't.
7th-Oct-2007 10:40 pm (UTC)


Poison ivy isn't actually very ivy-like. It tends (note that word) to grow vertically in woody stems. In fact, some plants are large enough that what's called "Mother-in-Law Spoons" are carved from the stems.

Very susceptible to it, myself. "Leaflets three, let it be."

Anyway, washing good with hot water and lots of soap immediately after exposure will usually remove the oil before it soaks in enough to cause a rash. Usually...
7th-Oct-2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
When I came in I took a good shower, so hopefully that'll take care of it (or it didn't need to be taken care of). I remember from Girl Scouts a reference to "trefoil leaf" and "red", but I never figured out if that referred to a single leaf that had 3 fingers or groups of 3-leaves-together.

This had both -- although it was not red. (I think it was the 3-leaves-together that called up that memory of possible identification.

And as to the threes, and the red, the one time my brother pointed out the poison ivy, I think I did not see 3-finger leaves, 3-leaves-together, _or_ redness, so I have never learned to recognize it. Unless it is climbing and near-choking a tree -- poison ivy is the only vine I've seen with a fuzzy stem 3-5 inches across climbing a tree to the top.
8th-Oct-2007 12:47 am (UTC)
It's only red in autumn -- it's green through spring and summer.

Poison ivy has three leaves on a single stem. The leaves are irregular; they have tooth edges, but the "teeth" aren't regular, either.

As susceptible as I am to it, I generally assume it's anywhere where lots of weeds aggregate, especially around woods. This is the reason I insisted on a shower next to the laundry room which is next to the mudroom, which is at the garage door. After I tramp through the grounds, I will strip, through clothes in washer, through myself through a shower.

There is supposed to be a natural de-poison-ivy-er; it's a plant that frequently grows where poison ivy grows, and the oil from the flower (?) negates the oil from the poison ivy. I've forgotten what it is, but I'm going to find out!

It can take a while for poison ivy to manifest -- if you were rolling around in it, it may not produce a rash until later in the evening. But, from what you've been saying, it sounds like you just might escape!
8th-Oct-2007 01:08 am (UTC)
Well, not so much literally rolling around in it, but I was up past my elbows grabbing weeds and tugging -- and I didn't always win that tug of war, and I didn't always maintain any semblance of balance. I'm hoping that my gloves and pants and shirt (and shower) saved me.

And that I'm as lucky... probably next week. It's gotta be done, and that may be my Sunday Morning Instead Of Con task.
9th-Oct-2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
**Unless it is climbing and near-choking a tree -- poison ivy is the only vine I've seen with a fuzzy stem 3-5 inches across climbing a tree to the top.**

Hmmm. This sounds much more like poison oak than poison ivy.

Like poison ivy, only worse.

9th-Oct-2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the person who identified it for me was mistaken. Although I assume he was still right when he said that they should *not* be disposed of by burning. I honestly hope to never have to know these things!
9th-Oct-2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
No, you don't want to have to know these things.

I walked through poison oak smoke, once, at age 9 or so. I was out of school for two weeks. I had lesions all over my body and in *every* oriface of my body -- *all* of them. My eyes were glued shut. The damn thing stuff systemic, and required antibiotics.

*That* is when I became *so* sensitive to poison oak/ivy that I can catch it from wind. (!) Or at least I used to. It seems to have finally died down a bit -- but I'm still paranoid about dealing with it.

Mind you, I'm not infallible about recognizing the ivy, which is why I'm so careful in any woods. And, while I can identify the oak vine, I haven't seen the leaves, yet. (It abounds on the trees of the new property.)

Still, I do know that the *ropes* (read: vines) around the trees are the poison oak, not the ivy.

Never seen (nor want to see or experience) poison sumac.
19th-Oct-2007 03:10 am (UTC)
I've been studiously not looking up the symptoms of the poison ivy rash. I can pick up non-contagious diseases from friends, and I'll bet I can mimic any symptoms I read. I have about a dozen hard-centered red bumps -- between 2mm and 4mm in size that itch like mad. And a welt that isn't healing (after about 2 weeks) and itches like mad. I suppose this could be my "winter eczema" reasserting itself...
8th-Oct-2007 11:11 am (UTC)
I finally discovered you on LJ. (It's Maggi.)
8th-Oct-2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
*smile* -- I'm shy about friending local people whom I am not sure who are, so although I'd been curious about who your id was before, it wasn't until around about the first Acorn I saw 2 different "come to this party that these people are organizing" announcements, one with lj handles, and one with names that I figured out who you were. That's why I friended you then. It's good to see you.
9th-Oct-2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
I think what you found is crabgrass. It has runners with leaves all along them, emanating from a central rootwad, and the leaves all point toward the end of the runner, right? And the runner stem is paler than the leaves?
Poison ivy generally grows up alongside trees or shrubs, in my experience (but I admit I'm no expert) so finding it in the middle of your garden plot would be unusual.
9th-Oct-2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
Nah, the runners were mostly bare. It took me several leaps of "now lets pull the _next_ bunch out" before I got to anything resembling leaves. (I did have what I think is crabgrass too.) The runners were a dirty brown color, and the leaves, which I thought resembled a small maple leaf, were green.
10th-Oct-2007 02:00 am (UTC)
Hmmm. "maple leaf" does not sound like poison ivy. True ivy does sometimes look like miniature maple -- especially the ones that turn scarlet in autumn (and look so sriking against old ivy-covered stone university walls in New England!)

The poison ivy leaf is basically a spear shape with serrated edges, where the serrations are unevenly sized.
Three spears to a stem, one on top, two essentially parallel to each other below the head leaf. Sometimes the head leaf will be a bit bigger than the lower ones, probably due to growth patterns.

It's supposed to be a vine, and sometimes I do see it trailing horizontally (say, in a crack between cement blocks) but I also see it as fairly bushy, too. It is somewhat viny at the base of a tree, too, but it rarely grows very high up the tree.

Poison oak vines look like somthing Tarzan could swing on, except that he'd regret it later.
10th-Oct-2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
Glad I was not drinking when I read your final line.

Ok, The leaves didn't look very spear-like, so maybe I'm "safe".

I suppose it could be a sort of "true" ivy, although I tend to expect more leaves and less stem/runner from that.
10th-Oct-2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
Since you have yet to report a rash, I think the whole question is moot -- if it *was* poison ivy or that ilk, you have dodged the bullet.
10th-Oct-2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
(I'm about half done, so I expect to spend more time out there ... possibly next Sunday if I don't go back to the con -- we're commuting.)
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