Gardening Question

Both sides of my deck have several feet in between the deck and the fence where grass has a hard time growing. I am thinking about planting some english ivy and then just putting hardy vegetable plants in there like squash and okra that can comingle.

What do you think?

154 replies
  1. 1
    ruemara says:

    IDK if I’d put in ivy. That shit takes a serious walk all over everything and is hard to remove. I’d go with the hardy plants thought. Add in some growing supports for the squash.

  2. 2
    Wapiti says:

    I don’t like ivy; it’s invasive and will be hard to remove when you decide you don’t want it there.

  3. 3
    lahke says:

    Don’t know about how ivy works in West Virginia, but if your winters are mild it will turn into a real pest and rats like to live in it.

  4. 4
    Sab says:

    Don’t plant ivy. You will be sorry. It will eat your fence and your yard.

  5. 5
    kathy says:

    Absolutely not! English Ivy is a pest. Once established it can be nearly impossible to eradicate and will suffocate the other plants. In some states it is Illegal to now plant it.

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    Ivy=rats in my neck of the woods FWIW.

    Are there shade-tolerant perennials in your neck of the woods, especially native varieties?

  7. 7
    Anonymous At Work says:

    Okra does better with decent sun exposure and warm weather and a long growing season. Then again, unless you are a minor deity of pickling, you can get too much to handle…

  8. 8
    Sab says:

    I love sweet woodruff, but the dogs would probably stomp it.

  9. 9
    TomatoQueen says:

    English Ivy has nothing to recommend it,as above and furthermore ticks love to live in it, thus it needs to be burned to the ground. If the grass doesn’t want to grow, then you might have a perfect place for rain barrels. NO ENGLISH IVY.

  10. 10
    joel hanes says:


  11. 11
    raven says:

    With all these negative comments about Ivey I suspect the bossman will plant it!

  12. 12
    Sab says:

    @joel hanes: Dogs would probably stomp that also.

  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    @raven: He’ll opt for kudzu at the last second.

  14. 14
    White & Gold Purgatorian says:

    Oh hell, go for it. You already have wisteria, honeysuckle and a willow too close to the house. English ivy is just what you need to complete the scene. Some serious invasives there, not to mention house destroyers.

  15. 15
    Sab says:

    @raven: I can’t wait until it climbs the willow on it’s way to eat the house.

  16. 16
    oatler. says:

    Ivy?? Couldn’t locate any kudzu?

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Sab says:

    I need to go outside soon to rescue the two year old air conditioner compressor from the english ivy. The goats stood on the air conditioner to get away from the ivy. They wouldn’t eat it.

  19. 19
    Sab says:

    @p.a.: Prostrate thyme. That’s a really good idea.

  20. 20
    ant says:

    Yeah, john, CUT THAT WILLOW TREE BACK. Prune it. every year.

    Think, bonsai tree. Control how big it gets.

    You aint gonna kill it.

  21. 21
    swiftfox says:

    The only success I have had in shade and poor soil (piedmont area in Maryland) is coral bells, also known as Heuchera. Check out

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    @p.a.: Thirded. Excellent ground cover, amazing smell, good herb and insect repellent.

  23. 23
    ant says:

    We have some morning glory vines by our house that is impossible to kill, and smothers everything in its path.

    Maybe try that.

  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    I have no suggestions, except that I hope that you saw the warnings from people last night telling you not to do the blackberry bush.

  25. 25
    ant says:

    Running bamboo is a hardy plant.

  26. 26
    randy khan says:

    No, no, no to the ivy. It is really hard to control and wants to go everywhere.

  27. 27
    Kay says:

    Ivy is too aggressive for anything to “commingle” with it, John.

    It must be sunny because you’re putting vegetables in there. If it’s morning sun there’s so many other nice options – ferns or hosta or a flowering perennial- what about a sequence planting? Put fall bulbs in there, they’ll be done by June, and your okra and squash will have room to stretch out. Any early spring flower/summer vegetable combo works. You can even switch it- an early season vegetable followed by a mid-late summer perennial.

  28. 28
    sukabi says:

    For a low ground cover something like a vinca would be nice, or hostas if the area is shady and damp.

  29. 29
    mere mortal says:

    Have you considered kudzu?

    Seriously, though, don’t do that, ivy is bad.

  30. 30
    GregMulka says:

    Kudos on getting rid of grass, even if not by choice.

    Native plants:

    Dry Sites – Pitch Pine, Native Lupine, Bayberry, Butterfly-weed, Stiff Aster, Red Pine, Scrub Oak, Lowbush Blueberry, Bracken Fern, Sweetfern, Little Bluestem, Switch Grass, Big Bluestem, Wild Rye.

    Moist Sites – White Pine, Beech, Red Oak, Hemlock, White Ash, Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, Flowering Dogwood, Sassafras, Basswood, Solomon�s seal, Black Cherry, Elderberry, Wood Fern, Wild Yellow Lilly, Virgin�s-bower, Highbush Blueberry, Bee-Balm, Columbine, Jewelweed.

    I’m a big fan of blueberries because they hate “good” soil. Might be ideal for your situation. They’re a plant that likes to be miserable.

  31. 31
    mere mortal says:


    “Ivy?? Couldn’t locate any kudzu?”

    god damn it, I not only made an unoriginal joke, I didn’t read the full comment thread.

  32. 32
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @ant: You should be ashamed of yourself. Twice. Especially since you know the morning glory could happen.

    Ticks hide in ivy. They avoid thistle though.

  33. 33
    dnfree says:

    Lamium does very well in our shady areas. It comes in a variety of colors.

  34. 34
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @raven: Exactly – it’s a strong possibility. It could be a hell of a throw down among ivy, honeysuckle, and wisteria. Somebody ought sell tickets.

  35. 35
    Sab says:

    @GregMulka:Re blueberries. But they don’t thrive without sun. They won’t die, but they won’t thrive.

  36. 36
    chopper says:

    no on the ivy. i just cut a bunch back, a haven for fuckin’ rats.

    would oregon grape grow well there? it’s pretty shade tolerant.

  37. 37
    Just One More Canuck says:

    you must hate your house, what with the willow being too close to the house, and now thinking about planting ivy. My parents planted ivy beside their house, and it found every possible crack until it reached the point where we saw it growing inside the house.

    Do Steve a favour and plant catnip

  38. 38
    Sab says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: I’d place my bet on ivy every time.

  39. 39
    Motivated Seller says:

    Vinca or Lilly of the Valley. They take a while to get established, but hold up well in shade. Veggies need lots of sun.

  40. 40
    Kim Walker says:

    Rainbow chard is very pretty, delicious and grows well in less sun than most vegetables. You can just cut off a few leaves at a time and it will keep going until a hard frost.

  41. 41
    piratedan says:

    maybe just say fuck it and put down some crushed granite or even river rock to reduce the mud trackage….

  42. 42
    White & Gold Purgatorian says:

    @rikyrah: Blackberries too!? Why don’t you plant some nandina too, John, in case your older self needs even more of a challenge.

    Seriously, many day lilies (not the orange ones growing by the road side) are easy to grow, attractive and not invasive. Toss in a few spring and fall blooming bulbs with them and mulch the hell out of the bed. It will look nice and not turn into a problem for an older you.

  43. 43
    Magnus says:

    I swear this post is just click/comment bait.

  44. 44
    Bard the Grim says:

    I’m assuming grass won’t grow because it’s too shady, so: sweet woodruff, dead nettle (can be very pretty despite the offputting name), European ginger, coral bells, astilbe, bleeding heart, ferns, hostas. Vinca has two kinds, minor (aka periwinkle) and major. Major has somewhat larger and more variegated leaves. Both tend to spread and Must be kept under control.

  45. 45
    Sab says:

    @Motivated Seller: Lily of the Valley is poisonous. OK if Cole’s dogs don’t eat plants. Very bad if they do.

  46. 46
    Elmo says:

    OMG, after eight years in Tennessee, he idea that anyone would willingly plant vines is just… just no. Unfathomable. Kudzu growing a foot a day, honeysuckle vines as thick as my wrist, trees crowned, and the ticks, oh god the ticks, after a day of battling the encroaching jungle I would have literally dozens of them on me. I would strip down naked on the front porch – ten acres of absolute privacy was nice – put my clothes in a bag and take them straight to the washer.

    NO IVY.

    Plant hostas. There are tons of different varieties, they love bad soil and bad light, they thrive on being torn out and re-planted, and they’re damn pretty.

  47. 47
    Pete Mack says:

    Ivy is horrible stuff. Just impossible to eradicate when it inevitably escapes. There are other shade-tolerant plants that are less aggressive–even pachysandra. And there are nice sort-of-wildflowers like bleeding heart, etc.

  48. 48
    ruemara says:

    @White & Gold Purgatorian: He let’s Steve out to roam tho & daylilies are toxic to cats.

  49. 49
    Doug R says:

    You will NEVER be able to get rid of ivy, might as well grow bamboo there.
    Why does everyone hate moss so much, it’s great in low light damp areas.

  50. 50
    Jharp says:

    No to the ivy and kill the willow tree before it’s too late.

  51. 51
    MobiusKlein says:

    Nice try, thinking you can get a non muller thread so easily!

  52. 52
    Mohagan says:

    I don’t know about WV, but here in N CA, ivy is a common home for snails, especially in the suburbs. When it rains gently sometimes, you can see the snails out “raining” (as the opposite of sunning) themselves on the leaves. I started to recommend a shade-loving ground cover like Kenilworth Ivy (good between flagstones), but the suggestion of native plants is much better. The caterpillars and other insects on native plants are how local breeding birds feed their babies. For the purposes of breeding birds, you might as well have plastic plants for all the good non-native trees and shrubs do them. Research a little to find plants good for the birds you want to help. Every bird species is a specialist in 2-3 plants their nestlings can eat, since every plant has toxins to keep from being eaten.

  53. 53
    Sab says:

    @Doug R: I have never understood the moss hatred. Don’t Japanese gardeners cherish it? It does well in shade. With water, it’s always green. Never needs mowing.

    My husband hates moss, but he is such a strong gardener that he can’t recognize a daffodil, in spite of spending all of his 68 years in Ohio.

  54. 54
    cynthia ackerman says:

    FWIW, I battled and won over English ivy with a nontoxic, lengthy but low input method. Works great for beds and loose rock, without disturbing the rock (I de-ivied several hundred feet of century-old river rock retaining wall, without damage to the wall or need for more than very minor repairs).

    First, sever as many main stems as you can find, as close to the soil as you can. What you’re doing is isolating the tap roots while killing the growing vine. It may help to leave a few inches of the tap roots exposed above ground, so you know where they are. In which case, don’t bother trimming off buds or short leaders. Be sure to move the cut stems around a bit to ensure you found the lot, and so that the upper parts have no chance to come in contact with a path to rerooting. Either leave the now dying top vines in place, or remove if they will be a problem. I recommend removing if possible, as what comes next will be better managed. If there are mature berries, you’ll want to carefully remove and burn them to reduce the seed load. Absent seeds, ivy vines are good in well maintained compost.

    Next, cover the ground ( or wall, etc.) over and around the tap roots loosely with black plastic and secure as best you can, weighing down with bricks or stones to keep all sunlight out. Leave the plastic loose, though, to allow new vines plenty of room to try to find sunlight. What you’re doing is slowly exhausting the tap roots. It’s not a quick process.

    Then let as much time pass as you want, at least several months of normal growing season, up to a year or so. Don’t worry if it goes longer. You’ll know it’s been too long if green vines poke out from or through the black plastic. Don’t worry about most punctures in the plastic — no need to patch unless vines start growing through within a few weeks after removing the original offenders.

    After a good long while, remove the plastic and cut everything back to the tap roots again. The vines should be just about white or pale yellow, long and spindly with few tiny yellow leaves. If they’re green and vigorous, your plastic isn’t blocking enough light. Once again, either remove the dying vines or not. At this point they decompose in place fairly quickly.

    Finally, cover and secure the plastic again and repeat the process.

    It may take a long time, during which you look at black plastic. But it’s very effective, and is a good solution if mechanical removal of tap roots is not a good or preferred option.

  55. 55
    Raven says:

    @trollhattan: I’ve got plenty I can send him,

  56. 56
    Raven says:

    @Sab: Bad for the glass. . .

  57. 57
    JustRuss says:

    If you want height, planting bamboo in a water trough works. Keeps it contained, and troughs are pretty cheap.

  58. 58
    Sab says:

    @piratedan: My brother in California (not a gardener) wanted to tear up his yard and put in astroturf, until he realized he’d have to vaccuum it on a regular basis.

  59. 59

    No ivy. Ornamental grasses generally grow well in unwelcoming areas, I’m a sucker for Pampas grass. Other things that might work: Japanese forest grass, astilbe, coral bells, dead nettle, coleus is always nice.

  60. 60
    Wayne Marks says:

    Ivy’s good for a steep hillside to hold the soil in place (we had a very steep backyard when I was growing up and Ivy helped keep a protective wall and hillside in place so the front lawn wouldn’t migrate to the backyard. Also good on the side of an old stone building. Other than that… not so much. It’s a huge pain to remove also because after awhile it’s all interconnected — basically a nice looking weed.

  61. 61
    Kay says:

    @Kim Walker:

    Rainbow chard is very pretty, delicious

    It’s beautiful, the colors are great but I had a lot of trouble getting people to eat it – it was almost universally rejected :)

    I would grow it just for those colors, though.

  62. 62
    piratedan says:

    @Sab: once a month we hose ours down with a vinegar/water mix to help with any lingering urine and poop odors. To be honest, I miss the smell of fresh cut grass but not the battle to get it and maintain it :-)

  63. 63
    Sab says:

    @cynthia ackerman: Thank you. I will try.

  64. 64
    Middlelee says:

    Ticks and rats. What could go wrong?

  65. 65
    Sab says:

    @piratedan: I’ll forward this to him.

  66. 66
    Gelfling 545 says:

    No, no no. No English ivy. It is a horrible, invasive pest. It has actually made its way through my basement window frames, under the clapboards and into parts of the foundation and that’s with me trying to kill it for 40 years. If you want a ground cover there are nice but less troublesome ones available. My favorites are sweet woodruff, lamium maculatum “red Nancy” and sedum “dragon’s blood”.
    ETA I discovered through unfortunate experience that prolonged contact with English ivy – such as would be necessary to keep it from swallowing the house- can produce a poison ivy type of reaction.

  67. 67
    Another Scott says:

    Ivy is evil.

    Unless you plan on regularly grooming it, don’t do it. It will get on your deck, on your house, in your yard, in your trees, etc. It’s not “low maintenance”.

    Just say no.

    Plant something native. Maybe some ramps. ;-)


  68. 68
    Summer says:

    @TomatoQueen: Agreed. This is possibly your worst idea ever.

  69. 69
    Sab says:

    I put some ramps in among my sweet woodruff and they came back and seem happy. Ramps like to live under trees. Maybe Cole should put ramps there. Takes a few years to establish, but I bet he’d be happy with them in the long run. Unlike ivy.

    ETA see Scott a couple of comments up.

  70. 70
    whatzername says:

    Northern sea oats (chasmanthium latifolium) is a native, shade-tolerant ornamental grass that’s both vigorous and decorative. I planted some last year & it’s doing great.

  71. 71
    AB says:

    Vinca minor, aka periwinkle. It doesn’t like direct sun and it won’t climb.

  72. 72
    Peter says:

    I’m a big fan of currants. They’re understory plants so don’t need full sun, they’re attractive, and between white, red, and different types of black they produce fantastically good fruit. They’re not legal in every state, though, so you might need to look into that. Gooseberries are in the same family; jostaberries are a cross between the two.

  73. 73
    JPL says:

    I think that JC is just kidding, because he has to know how invasive ivy is.

  74. 74
    rk says:

    Bought a house. Previous owners had ivy as ground cover. I was not aware how awful it was. Took years to get rid of it. It was everywhere, on the fence, around trees, around the house, in the neighbors yard, in my dreams. They say ornamental ivy does not cause a rash. I and one of the kids had major bouts of allergic rash which would take weeks to go. My son was on steroids for two weeks because it was so bad. Your pets may not be allergic, but some of the stuff on the Ivy can rub off on them and they can bring it into the house and someone with allergies can have problems.
    In short, you have been warned, plant at your own risk.

  75. 75
    Sab says:

    @Kay: Lol. I used to belong to a/an herb gardening club associated with our metroparks. To a woman, our biggest challenge was getting the menfolk to eat the green stuff we grew. If we didn’t smear it with butter and saute it they wouldn’t eat it.

  76. 76
    Another Scott says:

    @Middlelee: Mosquitoes, also too.

    Ivy is evil.


  77. 77
    Sab says:

    @Peter: “Not legal in every state” kind of gets my antenna up a bit.

  78. 78
    trollhattan says:

    We’re ripe for it.

  79. 79
    Gravenstone says:

    @Middlelee: Throw in fleas and you’ve got plague soup!

  80. 80
    Barbara says:


    Don’t know about how ivy works in West Virginia, but if your winters are mild it will turn into a real pest and rats like to live in it.

    My sister is a horticulturalist and she finds that this point almost always convinces city dwellers to get rid of their ivy.

    NOTHING “commingles” with ivy. Try putting in the edibles you want and doing a light mulch. Alternatively, if you want a hardy plant, try Joe Pye Weed, but be prepared to brutally prune to keep it from spreading.

  81. 81
    Barbara says:

    @Sab: I love moss. To me it’s a sign of a healthy environment. I think many people think of it more like mold.

  82. 82
    Sab says:

    @rk: My parents bought a house in 1966 that was built in the 1920s. Beautiful house. We sold it to the neighbors this summer, and the assholes demolished it.

    My one evil consolation is that the neighbors on each side now have to deal with the plants uninhibited by a big house.

    Wisteria. Clematis. Vinca. English ivy. Virginia dayflower. Wild honeysuckle. Some weird possibly native thing we call euonymous that isn’t. Grapes, wild and tame.

  83. 83
    Another Scott says:

    Biden is announcing he’s in on Wednesday.

    Oh well. I guess he’ll have to lose the nomination for a 3rd time to get the message. :-/


  84. 84
    Sab says:

    @whatzername: Northern sea oats are native to West Virginia? I don’t know the plant, but based on the name I am sceptical.

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    @Another Scott:
    About the only positive I can muster is Biden could siphon off a significant Berner cohort.

  86. 86
    LuciaMia says:

    Climbing nasturtiums are a nice choice. They grow quite fast; with a little support will clamber up your fence; has lovely orange and yellow flowers and…bonus…leaves and leaves are edible!

    For veg, maybe a pumpkin vine or two. Definitely will fill up that space.

  87. 87
    CatFacts says:

    Ivy is the upscale version of kudzu. Don’t do ivy, unless you never want to see your fence or deck again.

  88. 88
    raven says:

    For those of you keeping track of my naked, screaming neighbor caper, I just talked to him. Dude has no recall of what he did, he knows now but doesn’t really remember. He said it’s a combination of not taking his proper meds and eat and sleep. I’m glad I talked to him quietly, I told him we were scared for him and scared for him. He saays it will never happen again but agrees if it ever gets even close that calling the cops is job 1.

  89. 89
    ruemara says:

    @Kay: They wouldn’t eat?! But it’s delicious!

    @raven: I’d be careful of calling the cops. Their record of dealing with people in mental straits is not good.

  90. 90
    NotMax says:

    I am thinking about planting some english ivy

    Now you’re just f*cking with us.

    Going for the Jordy Verrill Creepshow look?

  91. 91
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Well I really didn’t see that coming in GOT, the Night King arrested for animal cruelty. Seems a bit anti climatic the upside ending with the Night King in some jail cell.

  92. 92
    Pete Mack says:

    Others are recommending lamium. That is nasty stuff too. Ask at the local ag extention what good ground covers are for your area. And consider rhododendron if you just want to fill the space.

  93. 93
    Sab says:

    My husband just woke up from his nap. Saw me on my e-book. Asked “Has Trump killed us all yet?”

    I said “I don’t know. Cole is thinking about planting English ivy.”

    My husband (not a botanist or gardener) said “Oh God” and then went to turn on sports on tv.

  94. 94
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Another Scott:
    Presumably, Biden believes that having the vice-presidency on his CV is going to make the difference this time. But that depends on what role he actually played in Obama’s administration, and on how well he functions on his own. So far he hasn’t stood out compared to the rest of the 2020 Democratic field.

  95. 95
    raven says:

    @ruemara: Sorry, there is no fucking way I’m having a dude screaming, naked and busting shit up. He doesn’t remember any of it, does that sound like something I’m supposed to deal with? I called the cops and spent 20 minutes with them explaining he had never been violent or threatening. He and I agreed that that is the best way to deal with it if it happens again.

  96. 96
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Kay: Hide it in an omelet or a frittata – chopped fine enough and they’ll think it’s spinach. That’s how I managed. And it’s gorgeous to grow.

  97. 97
    Sab says:

    @Pete Mack: That’s another plant eating my neighborhood. Very pretty, but really does mess up a lawn. I don’t care since it’s green and alive and very low maintenance, but my husband hates what it did when it ate the lawn.

    Also pretty flowers.

  98. 98
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @raven: You are such good people.

  99. 99
    ruemara says:

    @raven: Not saying don’t deal with it, and since it seems I’ve set you off, best to you and him.

  100. 100
    raven says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: I dunno, I feel badly for him but, goddamn, if he hurt someone. . .

  101. 101
    Suburban Mom says:

    @joel hanes: With ferns and daylillies. Low maintenance and lovely together.

  102. 102
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Anybody know anything about natural ways to hollow out a stump?

    We had to cut down a huge old oak tree last fall. My wife wants to use the stump for a planter, but I’m having a heck of a time hollowing it out, even just a couple of inches deep in the middle. The tree guys tried with their chain saw but it was bouncing too much and they deemed it too dangerous. I’ve taken a few whacks at it with a maul and with a hole-cutting drill bit. At the rate either one went, I figure I can get the job done in about 10 years. There’s a reason oak is called a “hardwood”.

    I read somewhere that there are plants that will do a lot of the work for you. Anyone know anything about that? I also read that drilling some deep holes and filling them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer will help. I’ve heard about nitrogen before when I was reading about using sawdust as mulch (which I don’t have a choice on because the entire side yard is covered in sawdust). Apparently wood as it rots takes nitrogen out of the soil and you have to replenish it.

    Suggestions? I do like the stump-planter idea, but if there’s a way to get Mother Nature to do the hard work for me…

  103. 103
    raven says:

    @ruemara: Nope, my response was well thought out. I’ve had a week waiting to catch him in a non-threatening situation and I did.

  104. 104
    jl says:

    A sane person who wants to live a normal life and avoid annoyances and a variety of frequent minor disasters and nuisances would not even consider English ivy.
    So, I think, helpful comments that try to dissuade Cole from establishing that pest outside near his home are in vain.
    I don’t have time to review all the ivy comments in detail. Cole could have some G-damned ivy in a pot hear a window if he wants ivy. But, then why not shell out for some nicer more attractive variety?

    @raven: I see someone is thinking along my lines. Thanks.

  105. 105
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Visions of sugar plums Obama going around stumping for him dance in his head.

  106. 106
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @trollhattan: This is just sheer, completely uninformed, pulling this out my ass speculation, on my part, but since it would be irresponsible not to speculate, I’m going to go ahead. Is it possible that the reason Biden is getting in the race is simply to siphon off support from BS?

  107. 107
    NotMax says:

    @Just One More Canuck

    That presupposes he has more brain power than your average domesticated turkey.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

  108. 108
    Kay says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    Oh, I tried a lot of things. They were wise to me. They’ll eat anything, too, but for some reason neon-colored chard got their attention. It looks nice in a vase.

    This year I have pink celery. It’s amazing looking so far. A tiny little pink celery stalk with tiny celery-like leaves that are green. They’re seedlings. Assuming they’ll get bigger.

  109. 109
    ruemara says:

    @Just One More Canuck: I think, since many older, black voters like him as a candidate who appeals to white people – because we have to think about that a lot – he’d siphon off support from more progressive candidates, not BS.

  110. 110
    pat says:

    Shady site? Hostas, hostas, hostas. Come back every year, no need to remove old foliage, but it doesn’t hurt if you do….. Hundreds of different kinds, small, large, larger, huge…… And they will always be exactly where you planted them.

    Ivy, no, never. You will be sorry!!

  111. 111
    martha says:

    @raven: I’m so glad you were able to talk to him and come to an understanding. Staying on meds is often challenging for some (she says, somewhat ironically and with some experience). You’re a really good neighbor.

  112. 112
    Amir Khalid says:

    In his head, but I think no one else’s. I kind of doubt he would be Obama’s pick out of the current Democratic field.

  113. 113
    ZeeLizzee says:

    I’m a hard no on ivy. But you could consider planting mint, which is invasive, but can be mowed.
    Better yet hostas! Which are very hardy, can handle most light and soil conditions, will keep the weeds at bay with their thick foliage, and they die back in winter.

  114. 114
    Sab says:

    My brother in law, lovely person although Republican, had a gun nut neighbor with dementia. In Massachusetts, suburban. Neighbor used to get mad and ranting and waving his guns around. Local police ignored because didn’t want to come around because guns.

    Neighbor’s kid collected all his guns and took them to police station. They said that they appreciated his efforts, but there were problems with his approach:
    1. He didn’t have permit to carry, so technically illegal bringing guns to police station. They could charge him.

    2. Dad does have permit to carry, so if he comes to claim them, he will get them back.

    Meanwhile they will not resond to calls from the neighborhood because he is armed and scary.

  115. 115
    ruemara says:

    @Sab: That’s too damned sad.

  116. 116
    trollhattan says:

    LGM is threatening a double-TBogg with their “Impeach?” thread. Impressive!

  117. 117
    trollhattan says:

    Somehow, NRA finds this situation to be just how they like things. “Polite” people being polite.

  118. 118
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    In his head, but I think no one else’s.


  119. 119
    satby says:

    @pat: this. Hostas will work and without you having to think about them at all.
    I spent $500 getting the out-of-control ivy off of my house, and of course it had poison ivy mixed in with it (which I think happens a lot). No on ivy!

  120. 120
    satby says:

    @ruemara: yeah, the overlap of BS supporters to “establishment” Dem supporters of Biden is nearly non-existent .

  121. 121
    FlyingToaster says:

    I’m in the process of getting rid of the bad-idea English Ivy, so I’ll tell you, don’t.

    In one of our shady-parts, we’ve planted Vinca Minor (Bowes variety), which is lovely and only requires trimming (where it goes over the edge of the wall/landscaping thing) a couple times a year.
    In another, we planted Waldsteinia Termata (Siberian Barren Strawberry), which is fantasic but alas, not as hardy as the vinca.

    Out front in the hellstrip I planted Vinca Minor (Alba), which is a white flowering periwinkle; I suspect it didn’t survive the winter, but won’t be able to figure it out until I go clear the hellstrip.

  122. 122
    pat says:

    About hostas, they attract bees and hummingbirds. All sorts of lovely flowers.

  123. 123
    Sab says:

    @trollhattan: I love that the NRA had a spokesman with dementia (Charlton Heston) for years, and the latest guy (Ollie North) not demented robbed them blind.

  124. 124
    NotMax says:

    Steve, once again, votes for catnip.


  125. 125
    whatzername says:

    Yes, I checked on and they list WVa as part of its native range. :-)

    They call it ‘inland sea oats’, tho; or Indian wood oats, or wild oats (woohoo!). That’s why I gave its botanical name, too, since common names vary.

  126. 126
    Sab says:

    @FlyingToaster: Those are “devils strips” not ” hellstrips.”

    Where are you located. I love regional terminology.

  127. 127
    snoey says:

    @Sab: Guns are supposed to be locked up here. 98% sure that there is an improper storage charge on Dad if the cops wanted to go that way.

  128. 128
    Sab says:

    @snoey: That is helpful. I’ll tell my sister. Her husband is okay with situation but she is kind of twitchy about it.

  129. 129
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    No. His ego is too big for that. But let’s hope it has that effect anyway.

  130. 130
    Sab says:

    @whatzername: Those are very pretty. Wood oats makes more sense as a name.

  131. 131
    chopper says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    that’s where i’m at. if all uncle joe does is grind wilmer down to a stump, it’ll all have been worth it.

  132. 132
    e julius drivingstorm says:

    Asphalt, any color (tennis, anyone?) Potted plants.

  133. 133
    Sab says:

    @NotMax: Since Cole lets his cat out, catnip won’t last long. Plus Steve will be having to duke it out in the yard with other cats.

  134. 134
    Dan B says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: With some holes and high nitrogen fertilizer you can hollow out a stump. Oak is a hardwood but it will decompose rapidly with moisture, warmth, and nitrogen.

    Was your drill bit new? Did you use a rotohammer? They can be rented and big ones, if you have decent strength, can work fast. Drill holes 6 inches apart, or a little closer. Drill half the depth you eventually want. Decomposition works downwards (with the grain) faster than sideways ( across the grain).
    Nitrogen is like fuel. It feeds microorganisms. They migrate to near where it is located ir where there us the right – momma bear – strength. For instance, if you try to compost sawdust it will heat up for a while. This is the microbes getting to work digesting the wood. Once their numbers are high they use up the readily available nitrogen and the process slows or stops.

    We used to drill holes un bug tree stumps and fill them with high nitrogen fertilizer, ammonium nitrate many years ago – but Tim McVeigh made a bomb with it so it’s only available to pros and you end up on a registry… You van use any lawn fertilizer with a high N, first number of the three NPK numbers. For instance 30-8-10 would be fine. 40-8-12 would be “hotter”. Watch the middle number. If you are in a vulnerable watershed it can exacerbate algae blooms.

    We drilled one inch holes in the stumps (landscape crew strong young backs) then filled them with fertilizer with a tiny proportion of sawdust. It took 4 months of Eeattle summer weather -80 degree days 50 degree nights – to rot the stumps. If we were lucky.

    Other option, get a big container ( flower pot, galvanized farm/stock water trough ) or three. Place on top of stump and plant. Trailing vines highly recommended.

    Best of luck.

  135. 135
    mad citizen says:

    Neighbors planted E Ivy many years ago. I hate it and try to not have it at all in my yard.

    Yes to hostas!

  136. 136
    Dan B says:

    @ruemara: I’ve heard from pollsters that black voters like Biden because he respected Obama and stood behind him. They’re not as concerned about hus treatment of Anuta Hill or his cozy relationship with insurance and Wall Street. Wilmerites will smell the sulfur stench of evil corporate devilhood… but I exaggerate. They probably see Harris as a risky vote because they saw a woman lose in 2016. Sigh. I still like Karris the most but gaming out the primaries it seems that the big slate of excellent women and the big slate of decent progressive men may dilute the vote for Kamala. It’s wise that she is building a strong org in South Carolina. Hope she’s got the same in Iowa and NH. A big win in CA might just get her pegged as a Coastal home town win. The early states seem key. That might explain her lower profile in media to date. Focusing on tge nuts and bolts is very wise this early. Media will probably tire of their media darlings if they don’t hit it out of the park in the debates and the polling before the primaries.

  137. 137
    Geoduck says:

    My willow tree story. I grew up on a small lake, and we had a willow tree right down by the water. One year, a beaver took up residence in the lake, and chewed the tree down. (Which was a shame, because it was a good-looking tree, a long way from the house..) After my dad cut up and hauled off the corpse, all that was left was a short stump. Which didn’t die, it put out new shoots and started growing again. For all I know, all these decades later, that tree might still be there.

  138. 138
    mrmoshpotato says:

    The willow is too close to the house that’s going to be eaten by English Ivy.

    I could’ve sworn Cole used to have 3 dogs…

  139. 139
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: Also shred into soup or stir fry. All my family eat it if I cook it as one would greens.

  140. 140
    Peter says:

    @Sab: Some types of currants can carry a pine blight. The timber industry lobbied to make them illegal; some places did. New hybrids resist the blight, so regs have been relaxed in many places but not all.

  141. 141
    Feathers says:

    I was about to suggest Lily of the Valley, since that is what we used in that situation growing up in VA, and I love the flowers. But it is poisonous to cats and dogs, which is probably why I don’t see it around as much anymore.

    @Sab: This is some kind of bullshit. His Mass license to own has to be approved by the local police department, as does the request to renew (every six years). Did they let the son know when the renewal is coming up? Apparently the law came into effect in 2012, so was it renewed when the chief of police should have known about the dementia?

    There is also the new “red flag” law which allows for guns to be removed for up to 12 months in emergency situations. I don’t know where the line is being drawn, but there must be lawyers who are handling these hearings. Perhaps the son could get in touch with them, especially if there has been witnessed waving the guns around. The law just went into effect this year, so perhaps a try at getting a removal that way? Unsafe storage another good way to go.

  142. 142
    Bobby Thomson says:

    NO FUCKING ENGLISH IVY. It’s non-native and invasive as fuck. It will crowd out beneficial plants and if it gets on your house it will damage the siding.

  143. 143
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Sab: We put in a smallish area of fake lawn (we’re in California) and my husband vacuums it occasionally with the shop vac. No luck so far getting him to wear a frilly apron and beribboned cap while he does it, though.

  144. 144
    Barbara R says:

    According to ASPCA English ivy is poisonous to dogs and cats.

  145. 145
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @lahke: Snakes as well.

  146. 146
    LivinginExile says:

    Would there be room for two more WILLOW trees? If not you could try multi flora rose……?

  147. 147
    J R in WV says:


    you could try multi flora rose…?

    Must be from around here ! Our former blight was multi flora rose… which is taking a big hit from a virus. Now we have Autumn Olive, which I sprayed with some kind of toxic brush killer last year. I thought it would be seriously less of a presence this year, but stuff that was dead looking last summer after being sprayed is back alive alive again.

    Will be chain sawing it at the ground and coating the stubs with a more potent mix of poison this year, if I can get it done. Being old is a bitch.

    I vote for periwinkle and hostas, perhaps with winter hardy ferns also too.

  148. 148
    Sab says:

    @Peter: Good. I like currants,

  149. 149
    Kim Walker says:

    @Kay: Sliced up, sauteed with bacon and garlic, as a side with a roasted chicken and bisquits. My favorite childhood meal when staying over at my grandparents. Maybe it’s one of those southern things. It is pretty-my other grandparents put vegetables along
    with the flowers in their postage-stamp sized garden. It was gorgeous.

  150. 150
    J R in WV says:

    OK, another ground cover we have that works Pachysandra — we have a very steep shady bank down to the tiny creek by the house, and I put in Pachysandra wherever I could get a trowel into the ground. It spreads quickly to fill in, but isn’t aggressive about moving away from its bed. Little white flowers this time of year, not obvious, not why you plant it.

    Soloman’s Seal comes up though it, tall ferns like ostrich ferns come up through it. It’s easy to control, I can walk through it to deal with something without killing it.

    ETA: I think large hostas would come up through this Pachysandra cover… little one’s would probably not. Saw Mouse-ear hostas for the first time at the Farmer’s Market, interesting looking small plants.

  151. 151
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Sab: Watertown, Massachusetts, which is unfortunately on everybody’s map.

  152. 152
    HinTN says:

    @raven: He’s already planted honeysuckle and wisteria. What’s a little English Ivy among friends.

  153. 153
    HinTN says:

    @Motivated Seller: Lilly of the Valley need lots of oak leaves nearby.

  154. 154
    Sab says:

    @Barbara R: So that’s why goats won’t eat it. Sensible goats.

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