A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 20, 2015
“Vines creep, then leap” ("first year it sleeps, second year it creeps, third year it leaps")

There is a popular saying about ivy:

“The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps.”

The saying has been cited in print since at least 1960, when it was called “a cute old saying.” It’s not known who first authored the rhyme.


Google News Archive
22 August 1960, Reading (PA) Eagle, “As Seen by Her” by Lilly March, pg. 10, col. 1:
I was reminded of this because someone recently told me a cute old saying about ivy, telling you what to expect of it when you plant it. to wit: The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps.

Mine, alas, never got beyond the sleeping-creeping stage.

Google Books
The American Horticultural Magazine
Volume 41
1962
Pg. 182:
There is a common saying in these parts, “The first year it sleeps, the second it creeps, and the third year it leaps.”

Google Books
Randall Jarrell, 1914-1965
By Robert Lowell, Peter Taylor and Robert Penn Warren
New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
1967
Pg. 288:
It was his idea to surround the house with rooted ivy plants in hopes they would “take the place” as the neighbors warned. “The first year it sleeps. The second year it creeps. The third year it leaps,” they told him.

Google News Archive
6 July 1974, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Grass Leads As Ground Cover” by Tom Stevenson (Washington Post Special), pt. 3, pg. 5, col. 8:
There is an old saying about it (English ivy—ed.): the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps.

Google News Archive
10 June 1994, Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal, Escape, pg. D7, cols. 2-3:
“When you’re sleeping, ivy’s creeping” by Nancy Brachey,
That done, you need only remember this poem about ivy:

“The first year it sleeps.”
“The second year it creeps.”
“The third year it leaps.”

Twitter
Third Way
‏@ThirdWayTweet
Cowan & Vogelstein: The #Economy after a long recession is like ivy. 1st it sleeps then it creeps & finally it leaps We’re in leap mode now.
12:10 PM - 5 Apr 2010

Twitter
yung farmer
‏@jpanz
Vines are like stalkers. First they sleep, then they creep, then they leap.
2:02 PM - 12 Nov 2013

Twitter
Conan the Grammarian
‏@TheFallow
@lizadonnelly What they say of ivy—"First it sleeps, then it creeps, then it leaps"—is also true of Vine!
12:22 PM - 14 Jan 2015

Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel
Purple Passionflower creeps, then leaps
Kathy Van Mullekom
5:36 PM, May 20, 2015
Vertical gardening with vines is tempting, especially when you grow out of horizontal space to use.

Vines are romantic looking, winding their way around trellises and arbors and across the tops of fences.

But, as the old saying goes, vines creep, then leap. Beware of where they can leap — and then emerge.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBuildings/Housing/Parks • Wednesday, May 20, 2015 • Permalink