Variegated Algerian Ivy

The Ivy Wife
Thomas Hardy
(1840-1928)

I longed to love a full-boughed beech
And be as high as he:
I stretched an arm within his reach,
And signalled unity.
But with his drip he forced a breach,
And tried to poison me.

I gave the grasp of partnership
To one of other race--
A plane: he barked him strip by strip
From upper bough to base;
And me therewith; for gone my grip,
My arms could not enlace.

In new affection next I strove
To coll an ash I saw,
And he in trust received my love;
Till with my soft green claw
I cramped & bound him as I wove...
Such was my love: ha-ha!

By this I gained his strength & height
Without his rivalry.
But in my triumph I lost sight
Of afterhaps. Soon he,
Being bark-bound, flagged, snapped, fell outright,
And in his fall felled me!

'Gloire de Marengo'
Variegated Algerian Ivy

   

"Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign."

Elegy Written in a Graveyard
-Thomas Gray
(1716-1771)

Hedera canariensis var algeriensis 'Gloire de Marengo' aka 'Variegata' is the variegated form of Algerian Ivy, or North African Ivy, or Canary Island Ivy, or Madeira Ivy. Although the species can be invasive in more southerly locations, here in the Pacific Northwest it is restrained, the variegated form the more so.

'Gloire de Marengo,' or 'Souvenir of Marengo,' alludes to a city of northern Italy, though the species is native to the Canary Islands, Portugal, & North Africa. It was apparently named merely to commemorate Napoleon's conquest of that city, though who but the French would commemorate a mad dictator.

It is a fine groundcover for a sunny hillside, & a good climber to hide an untidy structure or fill a large trellis. It does well not only in the garden but also makes an excellent houseplant & suits container gardening.

Variegated Algerian IvyThese photos are of a mature plant growing a block from our home which has been trained up a Doric column. It now entirely hides the column with its enormous cream & green leaves, & does so year-round, being strongly evergreen.

Not drought-hardy as is English Ivy, it is not the choice for a no-care garden, but fine for a nearly-no-care garden. It does great in partial shade or full sun. In deeper shade it will creep farther more quickly, looking for sunlight, whereas if it gets sufficient sun it gets very thick where planted, then thinks about colonizing the next spot over.

It's not fussy as to soil conditions beyond requiring moisture; it can even adapt to boggy conditions. It establishes itself much more quickly than English ivy. Hedera helix can take two or even four years to really take off, but Algerian ivy takes off fairly soon.

It does need periodic pruning at least to remove the runners that would like to spread into areas of the garden belonging to unagressive plants. The long questing vines root very slowly so when a big vine is discovered reaching far across the garden, it's very easily pulled up.

   



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