Until the introduction of galax leaves, the ivy was of much importance, and large quantities are still used, and possibly always will be. H. Helix is the common English and Irish ivy, and it has innumerable forms and varieties. Some of the variegated varieties make beautiful pot plants, and if they could be produced cheaply enough would make the best of basket and vase plants.
The common ivy is not a success here out of doors. It will do fairly well on a north wall for some years, and then we get a winter that kills. In Europe on dead trees, and live ones, too, and on ruined towers and old buildings you see the ivy climbing everywhere. " Creeping where no life is seen, a rare old plant is the ivy green." And Gray says: "Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower, the moping owl does to the moon complain." So the ivy must have crept its way to the top of the lofty tower, for it mantled it.
The ivy roots easily during spring, and if planted out early in good soil will make fine plants by the following October, when they should be lifted and potted in 4-inch pots. One advantage of the ivy is that they will winter under a bench in a cool house about as well as on the bench. We use them largely in vases and veranda-boxes and they suffer neither from heat, drought nor wind.
To produce leaves for designs I have not found them a great success beneath a bench. Although I planted a lot beneath a carnation bench in good soil, I prefer a wall where they will get the daylight, and such is generally to be found somewhere on the place.