Ivy Story

I was one of those June brides. It was 1967 and everything went fine the first three days – then I got sick – really, really sick, and off to the doctor we went.

Three weeks later, my health restored, we left the hospital to restart our life with a six-inch pot of pothos ivy in tow. That ivy will be fourty-six years old this month, June, 2013.

Several years earlier, my friend’s mother told me their ivy was twenty-five years old. I was young, younger than the ivy. It was hard for me to grasp that idea. We didn’t start off to make sure our ivy lived, but after the years started adding up, we wondered how long it would last.

In the early years, I would bring it in at the first sign of cold weather, dragging all the growth of the summer, letting it twine around the living room. This proved to be too unmanageable; so a little pruning came to be acceptable.

In 1976, we potted one hundred, six-inch pots from the runners on the ivy. I bought a box of pots from a wholesale nursery. Was too cheap to buy potting soil — dug up dirt from the pasture. With two children and one on the way, potting soil for one hundred pots would have been too much for our budget. I cut the runners in lengths ranging from four to twelve inches. The longer lengths were curled around in the pots like a corkscrew with dirt on top to hold them down. The unruly ones were anchored by reshaped paper clips until they rooted, after which the clips were removed. Shorter lengths and any leaf with a node were stuck in the pot where there was a vacant spot.

Runners were used until the original ivy was cut back to the top of its container. That’s when I found the plant does better if it is trimmed back — it flourished.Ivy

After the new plants grew, we added little net butterflies purchased at the ‘five and dime.’ My co-workers at the office bought all one hundred pots for $3.oo a piece.

At this same time, someone put sand in the hydraulic system of my husband’s backhoe. With his livelihood out of commission for a few weeks, we paid bills with the ‘ivy money.’

For a special gift in 2004, I set a container of dirt next to the plant and anchored some of the runners to root a wedding present for my daughter. Placing a plant stick with “circa 1967” in the ivy, I told her it was from the roots of our marriage. I also bought the newlyweds a new pot of ivy and added a “circa 2004” stick. This would be theirs to build on.

About every two years, I take the ivy out of its pot, wash all the dirt away, rip–carefully–some of the roots off and re-pot in new potting soil. When it’s time to winter the plant, I cut all the runners off just below the bottom of the pot and bring it in the house.

I’ve always said the ivy is like raising children. You love them, feed them, talk to them, and try to train them in a proper manner. When they get too big for their britches, you cut them down to size.

Who gave the ivy to us when I was hospitalized? I don’t remember. Just imagine — when you decide to give a plant, go ahead — it may brightened their world for the next — let’s just see how many years.

3 Responses to Ivy Story

  1. After I read this I went and bought an ivy plant. I paint flower pots and this is a great way to fill them. Linda, I always love your down home attitude and advice.

  2. Nikki B. says:

    Linda, I loved this! You really have such a talent at pointing out the beauty in the “ordinary” things of life. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Melinda B says:

    Wonderful story! My next wedding gift and I am going to go get my own… because we have a few years left! đŸ˜‰

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