Wednesday, November 02, 2005

nothing clings like ivy

I would say that about a quarter of you sing while driving. It is an informal and unscientific poll, and I doubt that all of you motorized vocalists realize that you are doing it, but spending the last couple of days landscaping on a the side of a busy road leaves me confident in this observation.

There is nothing wrong with singing in your car. I am planting a long row of English ivy that keeps Elvis Costello's "Nothing Clings Like Ivy" running through my head, but I am not singing it. There is something different about seeing a man singing on the side of the road. Your car is the extension of your home, and it is perfectly alright to sing and have any manner of loud conversations there. You can even stare without the slightest fluttering of self consciousness at the man planting ivy along the wall.
I do hum sometimes, but I suppose you can't see that sort of thing from the road. I also whistle. I will stop and watch traffic while drinking water and propping myself up against the shovel, and then I eventually plant some ivy.
I also talk to myself out loud quite a bit, but I somehow think this is less strange than if I were to sing.
This short week of landscaping marks the first time I've been back on this half job in about a month, and the narrow strip of land at this particular site alienates me on my end of the ivy line. I will be back in Tallahassee next week to sit in another windowless room under fluorescent lights, and I will probably enjoy too much of the free food and coffee and spend too much of the cash advance on beer and merlot, but I'm starting to think that I much prefer landscaping on the "work" end of it.
Then again, I suppose variety is good.
By the way, do any of you know what the difference is between ivy and kudzu? I would like to go along with Costello's knowledge of horticulture on this one, but I've always preferred the latter. I know that many of you are strict native plant types who find it invasive and out of place, but I always loved looking for shapes in it the same way you would look for cloud formations. It generally looks more interesting than what's underneath.
But I suppose that it will be ivy that overtakes and covers me while I'm standing there telling myself all this.


Blogger rugdesigner said...

Kudzu can grow up to a foot a day in the summer, up to sixty feet in a year in the right conditions and will grow on almost any surface. The drawback is that it will literally choke trees by preventing them from receiving enough sunlight to survive. It is almost impossible to kill; actually thriving on most pesticides. However, the vines can be used to make baskets, the blossoms can be used to make jelly, and the leaves can be cooked and eaten. It is eerily beautiful as well. English ivy, while quick growing, does not grow as quickly, and can be just as invasive. It is easier to get rid of, succumbing to pesticides faster than kudzu. I would not try to cook and eat it. It is not good for making baskets either. Pulling ivy up by the root will also kill it. Oddly, this seems to have no effect on kudzu... Yes, I grew up in kudzu and spanish moss country.

1:05 PM  
Blogger melusina said...

kudzu has a cool comic strip...ivy has three stupid movies

2:09 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

I grew up with kudzu but never much paid attention to its traits. Gracias for the info, rugdesigner.

6:14 PM  

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