The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section VI. Vines and Climbing Plants

Visual character of ivy

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The Ivy is not only ornamental upon trees, but it is also remarkably well adapted to ornament cottages, and even large mansions, when allowed to grow upon the walls, to which it will attach itself so firmly by the little rootlets sent out from the branches, that it is almost impossible to tear it off. On wooden buildings, it may perhaps be injurious, by causing them to decay; but on stone buildings, it fastens itself firmly, and holds both stone and mortar together like a coat of cement. The thick garniture of foliage with which it covers the surface, excludes stormy weather, and has, therefore, a tendency to preserve the walls, rather than accelerate their decay. This vine is the inseparable accompaniment of the old feudal castles and crumbling towers of Europe, and borrows a great additional interest from the romance and historical recollections connected with such spots. Indeed half the interest, picturesque as well as poetical, of those time-worn buildings, is conferred by this plant, which seeks to bind together and adorn with something of their former richness, the crumbling fragments that are fast tottering to decay:- "The Ivy, that staunchest and firmest friend, That hastens its succoring arm to lend To the ruined fane where in youth it sprung, And its pliant tendrils in sport were flung. When the sinking buttress and mouldering tower Seem only the spectres of former power, Then the Ivy clusters round the wall, And for tapestry hangs in the moss-grown hall, Striving in beauty and youth to dress The desolate place in its loneliness." ROMANCE OF NATURE.