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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ivy done it!

You've seen plenty of pics of the front of the house, as I have talked about Project Curb Appeal for the last several months. Today, however, you will have the rare opportunity to see the left side of the house. Up until last week, it was so covered in English Ivy and Virginia Creeper that it could hardly be recognized as part of Wendhurst Castle.

The ivy was absolutely beautiful, and because we have a stucco exterior there was no danger of it ruining the side of the house. What it could ruin, however, was the roof, and as you can see in the pictures below, it had really started to invade that area. Our roof is less than five years old, so we didn't want it to hasten its demise in any way.

The biggest problem, though, was the colony of sparrows that had taken up residence in the ivy on the corner of the house. There were at least two dozen sparrows living in the plant, noisily fighting over the bugs the ivy attracted, pooping all over our deck and the neighbor's driveway, and apparently fighting so badly that a few were killed. Our neighbor said she had found at least four dead birds on her side, and we found one or two dead ones on the deck as well. Obvisouly something had to be done.

This is what the house looked like last Friday as I began the project.

My tools consisted of a strong pair of pruners, a couple of rakes and brute some strength. I ripped off as much as I could from the ground, and then hung out the windows getting whatever else off that I could.

Three hours later you can see the fruits of my labor. The fence is still ocvered, but I needed to talk to the neighbor about that, as it is technically "hers" as well. She concurs that it needs to come down, so we'll take the pruners to that one too.

As you can see, there was a little corner that I couldn't reach that we'll need a tall ladder to get to. Luckily, my grandpa is a pack rat and has one that will work for us. He'll be dropping it off in a week or two so we can finish removing the ivy at the very top of the house (over 20 feet up!) and also fix some drooping eaves on the opposite side of the house.

We decided to kill off the English Ivy completely, as it is the most damaging and the most resistant to being removed. It is also extremely hard to keep under control. We cut the Creeper off and completely removed it, but we'll let it regrow next summer. It comes off very easily, and can be completely removed each year right before winter. It turns a beautiful deep red in the fall, so I'm glad we're not getting rid of it completely.

All in all it was a good day's work, and I'm, glad we were able to check this off the list. I am linking this up to Metamorphosis Monday, as it was quite the transformation! Be sure to check out all the other great transformations!


Terry September 13, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

I think you did the right thing. Creeper yes, English ivy no. We keep ivy off our tree and it's hard work. Y'all must be a little sore.

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards September 13, 2009 at 5:44 PM  

Oh my gosh. That's a lot of work!

Was it covering the window at first?

Great work.

Sarah September 13, 2009 at 6:16 PM  

What a lot of work! We had ivy that grew in between the window panes in our previous house. No ivy on this house! Hope you had a nice long hot soaking bath! ~ Sarah

Fifi Flowers September 13, 2009 at 8:29 PM  

That looks like a lot of work!

Michelle September 14, 2009 at 2:11 AM  

WOW...what a lot of work you did! I've removed vines from buildings and it was more work then I ever imagined!

Looks so much better. There is a product that works very well to kill unwanted vines and trees. I just cut everything down and then on the 'stump', with a small brush I paint some Ortho "Brush Be Gone".

Emily September 14, 2009 at 5:23 AM  

Oh, I love the idea of an Ivy covered house, but not the idea of dealing with it. Probably a good call - and I'm impressed that you did it yourself!

Jenny @ Words on Wendhurst September 14, 2009 at 7:39 AM  

Kim - Yes, throughout the summer the ivy covers both the living room windows and usually the bedroom windows as well. This year it even covered the attic window at the very top!

Michelle - Thanks for the tip! I'll be picking up some Brush be Gone on our next trip to the Home Depots!

Dragonfly Treasure September 14, 2009 at 8:02 AM  

What a job! I, too have removed ivy from buildings...no a fun task. You sure did a great job of it tho. Good for you. Hopw you were able to enjoy a relaxing bath and a glass of wine ;~)

Mrs. 5C September 14, 2009 at 3:25 PM  

Wow... that is a BIG job. I love the look of Ivy-covered houses, it's sad that it's so destructive (and invites such destructive animals!). I bet your arms were tired!!

Julie September 15, 2009 at 5:18 PM  

Boy what a job....I am having a give a way over at my place hope you can stop over...

Danielle and Clint September 16, 2009 at 7:57 AM  

Wow! Thats quite a project!! I think ivy can look so pretty along a house, but then it gets out of control. Looking good though...

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