Trailing Around With Ivy


While I was getting my haircut the other day Dan was off buying 200 hair pins. No, he’s wasn’t considering a radical new hairdo (well, may be just for a moment).


Dan bought the pins for me so that I could get underway with my latest garden project.

Prior to The Destruction we had a beautiful expanse of ivy and pachysandra in front of our house.


We have no idea how long this patch of plants has been there, but suspect it is many decades. Dan and I like it very much.

Unfortunately, as The Destruction progressed…


our lush sea of green was torn up and trampled.


Now that all contractors and landscapers are gone we want to nurture our greenery back to its former glory…


and that’s where the hair pins come in to play.

During recent days I have spent a lot of time in front of our house addition re-establishing our ivy patch.

I have two methods: 1) redirecting vines, and 2) planting clippings.

The first method takes advantage of mischievous vines that climbed up tree trunks during The Destruction.


I carefully prise off a strand,


point it in the direction where I want it to grow,

and secure it to the ground…


with hair pins!

Since buying our house I have spent many hours coaxing ivy in one direction or another to fill in bald patches. I use hair pins to ensure that the ivy stays in place — much to the amusement of certain neighbors.

The second method involves a little more work. I look around for fresh young ivy shoots that have roots on the underside of the vine.


Then I take clippings and trim the ends to encourage new growth along the whole vine.

Next I scratch the surface of the soil,


and fix the ivy in place.


Dan commented that my freshly planted rows of ivy are so uniform it looks like I’ve run a big comb over them.

(I hope Dan is not getting any ideas about a comb-over).

I cannot pinpoint exactly why Dan and I are so fond of our ivy patch, but the answer may lie with one or more of the symbolic meanings associated with this resilient plant. According to, ivy is a symbol of survival and determination — as it often returns after it has suffered damage or has been severely cut back. We are counting on our ivy patch to bounce back.

Furthermore, according to Celtic lore, ivy is associated with “connections and friendships because of its propensity to interweave in growth.” Dan and I think our attraction to ivy may be rooted in this association. Visitors to our home often tell us our place has a welcoming feel, and we suspect this feeling starts as they approach the house.


We believe passing through the ivy patch has a comforting and calming effect that would not be experienced if these areas were laid out as manicured lawn.

The next step in restoring our sea of green, once the ivy has rooted, will be to intersperse pachysandra plants. Planted side by side these two shade lovers appear to be perfect long-term companions. They grow harmoniously together — like old friends.


live. enjoy. repeat.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I was ‘Googling’ pachysandra with ivy and the results included your blog. :) I know it’s been a couple of years since you planted the ivy so maybe you can offer some feedback. We have several beds that have both pachysandra and ivy in them. I love the look but I’m afraid that the pachysandra is going to strangle out the ivy. What is your experience with it so far?


    • Hi Vicky,
      We love that you found us through a google search.
      We highly recommend the pachysandra/ivy mix. There were two large and established beds of it at our place when we moved in in 2002. The two plants co-exist beautifully and neither pushes the other out. The contrast in colors and leaf shape that each plant provides is an added bonus. Check out this pinterest link to see some updated photos of our pachysandra/ivy beds:
      Stick with it and enjoy!

      Dan and John

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