Martha Stewart’s house in Maine is called Skylands, Oprah Winfrey calls her California property Promised Land, and the late Roald Dahl lived in Gipsy House. Does your house or gardens have a name? If so, does the name speak to your heart, make you laugh, or have you inherited it along with the property?
We live on Poison Ivy Acres. As long-time readers of my first blog know, this name was bestowed on this land not only because the plant grows very well in this area, but also as a reminder that life is a whole that not only contains pretty flowers and tasty vegetables, but the unwanted and problematic. Poison ivy is itself a fullness of life plant; this flexible native can be a ground cover or vine, it has great fall color and the birds love the berries. It will grow in sun or shade and is extremely drought tolerant. This is everything we might want in a plant except the flowers aren’t very showy…and the urushiol in stems and foliage causes painful skin rashes on those who are allergic to it.
As a writer and speaker, I find the name Poison Ivy Acres useful because it’s unexpected. When people hear or read something unanticipated, they find it funny. Since we moved here 9 years ago I have often thought of putting this name on a sign by my driveway, but never found the perfect way to do so. When I saw bins of letters made from old license plates in the Just Plate Crazy booth at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle I knew I’d found a suitable material. Recycled, quirky, and unexpected enough to make people smile.
Like my garden.