Domestic Ivy League


When my parents visited last, my father decided to take action on a long-term desire: rooting and growing a small cutting of ivy from an important place. Since we had no plans to go to Wrigley Field (I admit I’ve only been once), we cut from Bond Chapel (where Elizabeth and I were wed) and Ida Noyes Hall (where we received guests), both of which are on the campus of the University of Chicago, our Alma Mater.

We already posted a picture of the twigs in an old mayonnaise jar:


Mom and Dad were here before the leaves began to grow. He was looking for twigs with a little green inside, but we didn’t know if anything would grow. We drove up to Gethsemane Garden Center for some root starter, set it up, and started waiting.

After a while all but two of the twigs began growing leaves (along with some clear bubbles), but only one of them ever grew any roots. Impatience set it, and I planted them in some soil. Here’s how they look today:


Since we walked between the two buildings when we were taking clippings, we didn’t really remember much about the leaves and assumed they would all be the same. After some growth, I’ve discovered some differences:


This twig grows single leaves.


This twig grows a leaf split into three distinct parts.


These last two twigs grew leaves divided into five distinct parts.

The interesting thing to remember is that they came from two different buildings. When we were at Bond, he cut from two different sides of the building, and that may be where the third variation came from.

Maybe we’ll take these cuttings with us wherever we go for the rest of our lives. We may transplant ourselves to Kansas or Minnesota and set them growing up the side of our house – a little piece of our place of wedding and our Alma Mater.

Now, if we could just identify each type… maybe they’re not ivy at all, just some other kind of creeper.



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