Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ABC Wednesday - I is for Ivy

English Ivy
Hedera helix
(HED-er-uh) (HEE-licks)

It is ABC Wednesday again and today’s entry is ‘I’ for Ivy. I know a lot of people consider this plant to be a weed but we are lucky here in Connecticut because the winter often slows down the growth and spread of this plant. If the winter is bad enough it outright kills it. I have been places, like the US Pacific Northwest, where I could definitely see where it could be considered a weed.

Some Ivy covered Linden Trees I saw in Long Island last weekend.

English Ivy can form dense carpets in shady areas that not much else will grow. It can also climb trees, up to 80 feet tall. I have heard varying reports that this damages the tree but it hasn’t seem to have bothered the trees at the Estate. It will also climb and attach itself on masonry and wood structures. I like the looks of an ivy-clad building but it can eventually damage the building. Ivy is on NASA’s list of air purifying plants and can withstand urban pollution and poor soils.

There are close to 400 different varieties of English Ivy in cultivation. There are many shades of green, gold, purple and pink available. Most have two different types of foliage, the juvenile leaves, which are more lobed and the adult leaves, which have less lobes. The leaves exhibit various streaking, marbling and veining to keep it interesting. I have been using them in the Conservatory and outdoor containers for many years with good results. English Ivy flowers in the fall and can be a center of activity for bees and other insects. I don’t think I have ever seen the plants growing as ground cover flower but the vines growing upright seem to be prolific. They produce small black berries that some people consider toxic to humans, the birds seem to love them.

Since it is St. Patrick’s Day week I thought I would post two photos from Ireland. These are both from Southwest Ireland and the Dingle Peninsula.

Looking out toward the Blasket Islands

The joke about the Blasket Islands is that on a clear day you can see Boston Harbor, it is however, never clear.

Late Afternoon boats in Dingle Harbor.


Here is the ABC Blogroll. Have fun exploring all the different ‘I’ posts. I took off a couple of the people that haven’t posted in weeks. If you would like to be included let me know.

17 comments:

Miss_Yves said...

Beautiful pictures !
I remember the music an English song learnt at school..."the ivy and...???????"
What else ?
miss Yves

Gemma said...

Personally I love the Ivy. Dingle Penninsula is awesome too...brings back memories.

ellen b said...

What a great idea for I - Ivy! I love your photos. Ireland is a place I'd love to visit. Have a great week...

Lilli & Nevada said...

Beautiful I photos, love the Ivy

Blue said...

Gosh, another I, I missed and my garden is overgrown with ivy.
And, each Christmas I interwine ivy to make my own door wreath.
Well done.

Vanillalotus said...

Beautiful Ivy. I'm an Ivy lover. If I could have those ivy covered walls I would be happy. I'm sure it's probably invasive down in her in the south. Ireland looks beautiful. It looks like a place I would love to visit.
As always wonderful photos! I never can not say it.

BumbleVee said...

love the Dingle boats and lovely calm water...

kml said...

Your Ireland images are beautiful - the mists are spectacular!

Petunia said...

Great choice for this wweks post!

John said...

Very nice shots.

VP said...

Now why didn't I think of that when I have Ivy all over the garden? (sound of hand slapping forehead...)

KOSTAS said...

Congratulations!
Splendid post, marvellous the photographs and briefing in-depth for ivy!

Ida said...

Great shots of the Ivy. I have Ivy in my garden also. Climbing and growing - fast. I cut it every spring. It`s decorative.
Blaskets Islands looks very beautiful!

Kim said...

Great Ivy picture. Nice job.

Jacqueline said...

Ivy reminds me of childhood -- my house was covered in it. These are very cool shots.

DeeMom said...

we have ivy here on one of our other buildings, we had to cut it back so it could be painted…it will not take long to Grasp its hold once again…great pictures

dot said...

I think the ivy is very pretty and I like the Blasket Island joke. Looks like it was fairly clear on the photo day.