leaves of three, let it be

I know that in theory I should learn from past mistakes. In theory, I should tuck that knowledge away for the next time it might be useful. In theory, I should stay the heck out of the garden.

Last year’s mission: Remove Neglected Hosta was as complete as it could be given that the “garden” had already begun to shoot the green tell tale purple hosta blooms from the earth. I say “garden” because what had at one time surely been a lovely corner flowerbed had become a neglected, overgrown mess of twisting prickers and weeds. The weekend we moved in (nearly two years ago!) we stared at it slack jawed. Not even gloves could help us to make sense of it and weeding it was out of the question because PRICKERS! In the time between when we closed and when we moved in there were many long afternoons that I filled trimming bushes, removing the rough landscape of the backyard and I came down with my first case of poison ivy. “Look at this, what is it? It itches!!!” I’ve been cautious to a fault since.

Last spring I took to that flowerbed with a sharp edge of spade and dug as much of the mess out as I possibly could. It required muscles and a lot of screaming and I declared the mission complete when I discovered the hosta was actually planted among rocks, which in happier times must have made this bed have a stepped look to it. I am sure it was lovely, but the rocks just delayed my work and caused frustration. Recently, I approached it again, this time before the green had been given a chance to sprout up. I pulled every rock, root, and pricker from that god awful flowerbed. When I was satisfied that I had killed every living thing, I looked around the rest of the yard searching for more things to cut and remove. I pulled vines that I suspected might have been responsible for last season’s scary poison ivy invasion from several corners of the yard. I ripped the vines, coiled them up and placed them deep into the lawn bags. I showered immediately and washed all the clothing I had worn. I had learned afterall.

Wouldn’t you know that two weeks later I have poison ivy? TWO WEEKS LATER? I discovered a bump on my leg, then the next day on my right forearm, and then later on my stomach. Wha????

HOW? I had washed everything. I had worn gloves, long sleeves. I had showered IMMEDIATELY……….I had moved that damn lawn bag to the street for pick up….I had later sat with the sweater I wore that afternoon and carefully removed pills from its edges…. Edges that must have been come into contact with the poison ivy vines.

I hate poison ivy.

This year is the most important year since we moved in that the yard be safe and free of things like poison ivy. This year Caroline will explore and play and potentially touch plants in the yard. I am really looking forward to her help in the garden and perhaps growing some flowers in the previous pricker pit. I just hope that this time the lesson sticks and I take every possible poison ivy precaution, for both her and my sake.


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