As I pulled the tropical plants out of my window boxes to make room for pumpkins and gourds, I noticed the English ivy. It was planted early in spring along with pansies, alyssum, lettuce and other cool-season annuals. I remembered how I admired its long stems of dark green leaves with prominent veins and how I decided to leave it in the boxes when the rest of the plants were removed.
And now, while twining its stems around the pumpkins and gourds, I considered how much this simple, utilitarian plant contributed to my window boxes this year. I pondered how fast and easy we are with prose about plants with flashy flowers and foliage, but say little about the workhorses. I decided this little English ivy deserved a poem all its own.
I am an English ivy, nothing special, nothing splendid.
To grow up screens and cover ground, that is my job intended.
But a gardener saw me growing one morn in early spring.
She bought me with pansies and alyssum, in pastel coloring.
She thought that she would plant me, but not to cover ground.
Instead my roots went in a window box, at center and foreground.
My stems were short, just starting out, barely trailing over the side.
But grow I did, and spring passed by in a blink of the gardener’s eye.
Spring flowers were removed and vibrant tropicals took their place.
The gardener thought my stems looked great, and I was not replaced.
The tropical plants thrived, and became a jungle all around me.
But I grew too, my stems even longer, when autumn came to be.
Other plants were sentenced to the compost bin – no stay of execution.
Except for me, an English ivy, the gardener wanted no substitution.
Because my stems were perfect to trail around gourds, and pumpkins too.
I will spend fall in the window box until snow flies. Yes, it’s true.
I am an English ivy that grew more seasons than intended.
Proving every plant can be something special, something splendid.
Plants are awesome, don’t you agree? Garden with me!