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Green Acre #122: Ivy to the Rescue

Now you see it (on the front), now you don’t (above). Legendary Washington columnist Diana McLellan devised a way to camouflage her ungainly recycling bin by fashioning a fake-ivy “tea cozy.” / Photos by Stephanie Cavanaugh.

RECYCLABLE TRASH day came late this week, who knows why. So the bilious blue plastic cans remained curbside for most of the week. Not a pretty sight.

Who decided on that color? They certainly can’t be missed, if that was the intent. But wouldn’t a pleasant, inconspicuous shade of, say, brown have blended a little better within our neighborhoods? Didn’t we once have brown ones?

Anyway, there they sit, huddled beside the front steps, at least two as a rule. The blue ones and the standard phlegm-green numbers boldly stamped with the DC logo and the legend, “Keep It Clean” bordered by a postage-stamp scallop. Welcome home!

Author and Queen of Washington Gossip Diana McLellan, who passed away a few years ago, was particularly irked by these wretchedly ugly trash receptacles sprouting like tacky gnomes amid the geraniums.

“It was so depressing, darling,” the British transplant gloomed. “We used to put the garbage out back, true of a lot of people in the city. But now they pick up in the front, and you don’t want to drag your garbage from the backyard through the house.”

No, you most certainly do not. Nor do you want to leave them out front. So.

McLellan’s ingenious solution was to buy a 10-x-3-foot roll of PVC ivy on a strong but bendable backing, cut it to size and lace it into a feather-light cage.

“Take pictures,” she insisted, figuring at some point I’d do something with her idea.

“Garbage should vanish,” she said, dropping the topper over the can with the flick of a finger, demonstrating how quickly it blended with her ivy-covered fence.

If you don’t have ivy (though McLellan maintained that most people “have a patch”),  the goods are available in a variety of ever-greenery from a number of cheesy catalogues, where it’s generally displayed adorning trailer parks. Available at Domestify, and other purveyers of fine dreck for around $50, a single roll is sufficient to cover a can, and once done it’s eternally yours.

The really crafty might add a topiary handle. A replica of the Memorial Bridge, perhaps, anchored to the lid with winged horses.

McLellan toyed with the idea of patenting her creation but had second thoughts. “It’s a tea cozy for garbage!” she trilled, adding a dollop of patented acid: “Anyone can buy the crap from a catalogue and do it.”

—Stephanie Cavanaugh

LittleBird “Stephanie Gardens” appears every Thursday, sometimes with solutions to problems you didn’t know you had.



3 thoughts on “Green Acre #122: Ivy to the Rescue

  1. Maggie Hall says:

    Miss Diana – my wonderful/witty/innovative fellow Brit. Thanks for the reminder of her brilliant and fun idea….. never understood why ‘they’ never grabbed it and ran with it.

  2. Sarah says:

    I love this. I have also enjoyed the little plant-topped sheds some have built for the cans….I think there is one on 13th between G and H.

  3. Carol says:

    Nothing like a wise woman!!!

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