I’d given up. At least 5 years ago (and probably longer) I was thrilled with the Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis) I saw at Wave Hill Gardens in the Bronx (wavehill.org). A tiny, delicate lobed leaf with an even tinier, orchid-like blossom. And it grows in the shade. At Wave Hill, it was enchanting as it softened a stone wall.
So, of course I bought it. And tucked its roots into a cavity in the east-facing stone wall above my driveway. I added soil to the hole and watered the little planting for weeks. Little by little, the ivy shrank and disappeared. Oh well. I took a shot and it didn’t pay off.
Suddenly this spring, I see the miniature frilled leaves poking out of the wall. Several clumps appear, from the base of the wall (which is black-topped driveway) to several separate niches in the stone, up to about 4 feet high. And now it is blooming! There is nothing growing in the original hole I planted, but after long consideration and slow travel, the Ivy has found what it needs and is thriving. With no help from me since the first few weeks.
This is one of the many joys of gardening: The serendipitous appearance of a plant you’d long ago given up for dead. Patience is required, but the payoff is an unexpected thrill like this. Besides the surprising beauty, you enjoy renewed faith in your own gardening efforts!
Kenilworth Ivy produces impossibly intricate blossoms all season long in moderately moist, well-drained soil. And delicate as it looks, it is a survivor. It makes a lovely groundcover or climber in Zones 4-8, and can actually be used in the crevices of a patio or walkway. Wherever you want the lacy tracery and fine detail to contrast with rugged stone or broad leaves, this is an easy option.
Tags: Wave Hill, easy care perennials, flowering vines, shade gardening, CT gardening, Gardening in New England, gardening in zone 6, gardening in the Northeast, Cymbalaria muralis, Kenilworth Ivy, vines, groundcover