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Friday Favorite: Kenilworth Ivy

November 18th, 2016

Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis) is one of my favorite little creeping plants. The first time I saw it was years ago on my first visit to Longwood Gardens. I didn’t know the name of it at the time, but discovered it a few years later. In my Ohio garden, it was growing in the rock walls and I loved it.
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I purchased a plant a few years ago, but it didn’t survive that winter, most likely because I planted it in the garden. When Mr Chiots and I visited the Hagley Museum last fall, I collected a few seeds from one the plants growing on an old stone building. I started them in a pot when I got home and this spring I had a few nice plants to add to the rock walls in front of the house.
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They grew beautifully this summer and creeped through the rocks. I’m hoping they help stabilize the soil in the beds behind the rock walls, the soil has a tendency to get washed out leaving the walls less than secure and full of holes.
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kennilworth-ivy-1Now that these little plants are thriving in a rock well, they should survive the winter because of the extra heat from the rocks. Just in case they don’t, I have two small pots of ivy in my indoor garden. If the plants in the rock walls don’t survive this winter, I’ll simply grow a flat or two of plugs every year to plant in spring.

Do you have a favorite creeping plant?

Gardening Skills

November 11th, 2015

If you’re an avid gardening, learning to propagate plants through a variety of methods is an important skill to cultivate. Not only will you be able to get plants for free, you can also obtain plants that can be difficult to find in nurseries and greenhouses. By far the easiest way to propagate is through cuttings rooted in water. Some plants root very easily with this method, ivy is a great one to start with.
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I had Kenilworth Ivy growing in my garden in Ohio and really loved it. It’s a valuable plant to have if you have rock walls, it scrambles along the walls filling in the pockets between the stones, blooming beautifully with tiny purple blooms.
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My first sighting of this ivy was at Longwood Gardens many years ago. At that time, I didn’t know what it was called, but I remembered it for years. One day I spotted it at a local greenhouse and purchased a plant. When we moved from Ohio, I didn’t bring a cutting with me and I’ve been missing it in my garden ever since.
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Lucky me, I got a cutting about a month ago and rooted it in water. I planted it in the potager under a cloche for winter protection. I’m looking forwarding to propagating more plants next summer and tucking them in the nooks and crannies of all of my rock walls. I’m so thankful I found this beauty again, and even more thankful I didn’t have to pay a penny for it!

Have you learned how to propagate plants? What’s your favorite propagation method?

Welcome Back

August 25th, 2014

Way back in the spring of 2008, Mr Chiots and I visited Longwood Gardens.  While there I spotted the most beautiful ivy growing on a rock wall.  This is the photo we snapped so I could identify it.
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After being unsuccessful at identifying and finding this plant at my local garden centers, I found it in a garden we were visiting. I pinched off a tiny piece and was able to start it for my garden in Ohio.
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Another year or so passed and I spotted the plant at a botanical garden, lucky for me there was a label ‘Kenilworth Ivy’ (cymbalaria muralis). This is such a graceful little plant and the blooms are understated yet stunning. It will grow in the tiniest cracks of rock walls and looks lush all season long, no matter how little rain has fallen.  I also found that it wasn’t invasive as creeping plants can be at times.
kenilworth ivy
Earlier this spring I went to my local garden center and found this beauty once again. I’m happy to have it back in my garden.
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I do not yet have it growing on any rock walls as I’m trying to eradicate couch grass from all the existing walls. At the moment it’s planted in a spot in the potager and I’m hoping it will spread nicely. When I want to add it to my rock walls I should have a nice patch to divide.

Do you have a favorite plant that you searched high and low for after seeing it somewhere?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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