Mailing List Sign Up

Why “Poison Ivy Acres”?

Last week on the radio I referred to my property as “Poison Ivy Acres”, as I have on this blog and my website many times. Later that day I ran into one of my listeners and he said, “Poison Ivy Acres? Why that name? Aren’t there more beautiful aspects of your garden that can give your property a name?”

Of course there are many other, perhaps more pleasing, names I could come up with. We have several flower beds, productive vegetable gardens, berry bushes and many lovely shrubs and trees. There is also a great deal of poison ivy. It pops up in the wooded area between the house and the lake. It sprouts along the edges of the woods, and at the base of every tree. We repeatedly dig it out and spray it with a salt/vinegar solution.

When I call our home “Poison Ivy Acres” I’m reminding myself, and everyone else, that a great deal of what goes on in the garden – and in life – is out of our control. I’m remembering that along with the best of life there are always things that irritate. I strive to always remember that life is a whole… that it is the beautiful, the desired, and the unwanted and itchy.

Although I don’t want life’s problem plants, I do want to have the entire human experience.

4 comments to Why “Poison Ivy Acres”?

  • I like this post a lot! I feel my garden has its controlled spots, but its the bits of wildness and out-of-control spots that keep me surprised and interested. No poison ivy, but other kinds of messiness that point to a broader human experience.

  • HI: I though Poison Ivy Acres was rather unique and probably had some meaning to you, which it did. You seem to be enjoying life’s experience.


  • irene

    hi cl,
    poison ivy has lots of benefits: the berries are a blessing for birds since they persist on the stems, feeding them into or through the winter; the foliage has great and varied color in the fall; and it is a terrific dune (or other poor ground) stablizing plant. it just has this one annoyingly itchy problem for the naked ape!

  • You’re absolutely right, Irene – Poison ivy grows in sun or shade, can be a climbing vine or a ground cover, hardy in cold climates and drought tolerant… this plant is a reminder that there are often two sides to everything. The beautiful and the irritating.