In an interesting and joyous turn of events, I have now become convinced the above is definitely NOT Poison Ivy. So soothing. A huge relief. I was not enjoying contemplating the seven-years-of-poisonous-oily-soil-scenario and wondering how the hell I will ever grow a single veggie when my garden plot looks like Darth Vader’s slip-and-slide.
So, that’s the good news. It’s not Poison Ivy. This according to the master gardeners at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, who postulated it could be some kind of Virginia Creeper,* but could not be sure. (What a great service, right? Email an expert for help.) They recommended I consult the Tower Hill Botanic Garden experts, who concurred it is not Poison Ivy and also ruled out nettles. But they are still analyzing my emailed pictures. I may need to bring in a cutting. Stay tuned…
In the meantime, I am just thrilled that under that smokin’ hot tarp may be some beautiful, moist, worm-filled, poison-free dirt that can be a garden next spring.
The Mass Hort folks also recommended a product called Vine-X, or anything containing “triclopyr butoxethyl ester” (whoa), for killing the “weeds” that have grown outside the garden plot and over my (old) compost pile. (I now won’t go near that one and have started a new leaf mountain.) They said to “brush” the product on the weeds directly with an “applicator” on a sunny day (like with a paint brush?) to avoid “drift” onto other plants. (Like the other weeds nearby. Oh, and that wild Bee Balm, which has somehow developed powdery mildew without any interference from me whatsoever.) I could also use Round-up, they said.
Hmm… I had not planned on using any chemical killers, that was the whole point of the plastic. We’ll see what the Botanic Garden folks have to say.
In other happy thoughts, this Tower Hill Botanic Garden looks amazing; it’s in Boylston, Mass., about 40 minutes away from me, and offers lots of intriguing classes and events. I know my neighbor has been there, but I have not…I am lusting over it online now.
The Begonias and Gesneriads Propagation class this weekend looks pretty darn sexy. And just when I have begonias to propagate…
*Apparently some people break out in a rash when exposed to Virginia Creeper. There’s a great (and funny) blog post about it here. I have to say, I think this possibility has merit, though I don’t remember it turning a beautiful red color in fall, so this might not be the culprit. According to what I’ve read so far, the Creeper is incredibly invasive and hardy, but can be pulled out by the roots by someone it won’t hospitalize. But it likes to come back. Oh well, at least it’s not seven years of bad soil-oil!