Now you can put English ivy to good use and learn to weave it into a simple Christmas gift basket.

Putting invasive species to good use

Now you can put English ivy to good use and learn to weave it into a simple Christmas gift basket

The Invasive Species Council calls it “a serious, smothering invasive” in southwestern B.C.

Now you can put English ivy to good use and learn to weave it into a simple Christmas gift basket.

English ivy, or Hedera helix, was introduced as an ornamental garden plant by early European settlers.  It was considered valuable because in its native range, Europe and Asia, it provided food and shelter for a wide range of wildlife, including birds, insects and deer.  Although the local deer do enjoy eating it, English ivy also has a lot of negative consequences for the environment.  It overtakes natural spaces by outcompeting native plants, creating ‘ivy deserts’.

The fibre from English ivy can be used to make rope, baskets, mats and other items.  In this workshop you will learn to split the vines, strip the bark and manipulate the resulting fibre to weave a simple basket that can be put to a variety of uses.  If time and interest permit at the end of the session, participants will head to Larwood Creek tributary to practice clean harvesting – collecting the raw materials without spreading the plant further nor causing sediment to enter nearby streams.

The “Weaving with Ivy” workshop will take place November 28 from 9:30am to 12:30pm at the Sybil Andrews Cottage located at 2131 South Island Highway.  Registration can be done through the Museum at Campbell River 250-287-3103.  The cost is $25 per person and all of the weaving materials are included.  Participants must bring a pocket knife, garden shears, and gardening gloves.  Register early as space is limited!

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