Ivy sort of grows on you

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - Mike Zielin­ski, a res­i­dent of Berks County, is a colum­nist, nov­el­ist, play­wright and screen­writer.

The win­ter of my dis­con­tent is ap­proach­ing. I’m al­ler­gic to cold, snow, ice and frost­bite. There def­i­nitely wasn’t a po­lar bear or two re­sid­ing on a branch of my fam­ily tree.

But there is one nice thing about win­ter: no yard work.

Ac­tu­ally, I don’t mind tak­ing care of the lawn and flower beds. Land­scap­ing is good ther­apy. You can get some sun, break a lit­tle sweat, mess with your hay fever, and you don’t have to think while you work.

I don’t know about you, but I work best when I don’t think.

But one as­pect of my yard that I don’t miss dur­ing win­ter is my rag­ing bat­tle with ivy.

Granted, ivy looks good on the out­field walls of Wrigley Field. And ivy is great ground­cover. I have a lot of flower beds and my wal­let and back would be broke if I planted peren­ni­als and an­nu­als ev­ery­where.

Hence, my ivy comes in handy. It main­tains its green fo­liage through­out the year and hides any sprout­ing weeds. You don’t even have to mulch it.

Ivy is great be­cause you don’t have to nur­ture or nour­ish it. Like a bad skin rash, it just grows and grows.

Which is its big­gest prob­lem. No­body ev­i­dently told ivy that mod­er­a­tion is a good thing. My ivy grows re­lent­lessly. It con­quers more ter­ri­tory than Cae­sar’s Ro­man armies.

If I didn’t stay on top of it with all the zeal of a Trump dis­ci­ple, my ivy would cover half of the town­ship by now.

It cov­ers ev­ery­thing. Fences, walls, trees, pa­tios. If you leave a pet or even one of your kids out in the yard long enough, it will cover them, too.

Con­se­quently I’m al­ways fight­ing a turf war with my ivy to rein in its eter­nal en­croach­ment. You can prune it, pause to yawn, and it’s BACK. If my hair grew like that, I could be a cover boy for a pa­per­back

ro­mance novel.

Alas, while I’ve been good at cor­ralling my ivy on the ground level, it has got­ten the best of me in the air. It has sprouted up many of my trees, es­pe­cially the ev­er­greens. My ivy holds air sovereignty over me and it’s doubt­ful that I will ever re­gain supremacy of the sky over my back­yard.

Un­less I want to spend most of the year hang­ing from a 30-foot lad­der or from a hov­er­ing he­li­copter while prun­ing ivy vines from tree branches and trunks, I’m stuck hav­ing

ivy cling­ing to my trees.

I’ve al­ready lost sev­eral ev­er­green trees and I know it’s be­cause my ivy’s cling­ing vines smoth­ered them. Come to think of it, cling­ing is too mild of a word. Death grip is more ap­pro­pri­ate.

My wife sug­gested that if I were a tad younger and more ad­ven­tur­ous, I could swing from tree to tree on those ivy vines and play Tarzan in our yard. I didn’t fol­low her ad­vice, but I did check out the fine print in my life in­sur­ance pol­icy.

Now I know why they

call Har­vard, Yale, Penn and their sis­ter in­sti­tu­tions Ivy League schools. Their grad­u­ates are the only ones wealthy enough to af­ford gar­den­ers who can trim ivy 24-7.

Thank the Good Lord that my ivy prob­lem soon will be in win­ter hi­ber­na­tion. But I know only too well that it will be await­ing me with a vengeance in the spring.

Mike Zielin­ski

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