Ivy House via Joanna Goddard | Ivy Hair via Pinterest | Ivy Wall via Girl and Cassiopeia | Solar Ivy by Solar Ivy | Ivy Corset by Lyndsey’s Boutique | Ivy Wall Art by Miss Green’s Wardrobe | Ivy Headboard by Dallas Coleman
We’re embarking on the greenest time of the year again, and whether it’s a thing of beauty or an invasive pest to you, ivy is here to stay. Its evergreen nature makes ivy a grand living statement of fidelity: faith in love, partnership and friendship. Ivy circlets adorning the head reflect eternity, the green circle of life, the hopeful ring-around-the-rosy. It’s a solar-powered sun-sucker that will climb wildly on anything anywhere anyhow to fulfill its craving for sunlight (see above for the Solar Ivy, a solar-energy system inspired by ivy). Immortality and a lust for life are the boons of its myriad three-cornered leaves. Yet it leads a codependent, selfish existence, knocking other life-forms off the living ladder so that it may conquer, thrive, and take over. Ivy is a gold medal winner of the award for survival of the fittest, known despairingly by another name as “the plant that ate Seattle”. If ivy were a human, she might have eaten all the rest of us by now. But what a grey world it would be without her! Poison ivy (albeit a different variety altogether than the traditional English) is not a mind-controlling temptress without cause—she has a raging fire to green the earth.
Ivy, close partners in crime with kudzu (another fast-growing invasive, particularly in the south), can grow up to a foot a day. People who plant it innocently hoping for a little cutesy green groundcover have no idea what they are getting themselves enmeshed with, and often find themselves ruing the day they introduced that overzealous ivy into their garden! It fights for attention, pulling water and nutrient sources from other plants, and, like the annoying kid at the all-you-can-eat buffet, takes way more than its fair share. Many gardeners and landscapers end up cutting their ivy back in order to give other plants room and resources to grow, but it is as hard to extinguish as it is easy to plant.
Ivy is ubiquitous, abundant, annoying, and very lovely as an interior accent. Do your part to clear away the tangled masses of ivy by picking some to make into your very own Ivy “Curtain”!
To make mine, I detangled and cut several 1-3 feet lengths of ivy, plucking the roots off so that all you’re left with is the connecting vine and the leaves. I spray-painted my cords of ivy in a range of metallics (gold is my favorite), leaving little peeks of green here and there. This gives the ivy a nice inside-outside sort of a look. I also painted a branch that is about the same width as a little side window of mine, and gave it a nice shiny sheen. A nice touch is to throw a bit of gauze or sheer lace fabric over the branch/curtain (like a towel on a towel rung), and tie the ivy onto that.
Using curtain rod holders, I affixed the branch to the wall by stuffing the ends of into the rod holes. Next, I took the strands of ivy (dry after 24 hours) and tied them (use twine if your vine is not cooperative) to the branch about 3 inches apart.
Ivy to the window! Ivy to the wall! Indoors, ivy lasts about a month or two before crinkling and sagging when on its last legs. When painted and given a finishing coat of clear artist’s shellaq, it can last up to two or three months as an indoor art accessory.
Give your garden a break and give yourself a bit of green sheen by making a living ivy curtain for your loneliest window! You no longer have to look outdoors to see green. Happy spring from TreeHouseHold!
All ivy curtain images by Heather Buzzard.