This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
What a magnificent plant this is! I do think that it is one of the most beautiful things in the country, although its flowers are of little or no account. Several years since, when the borer was destroying the Locust trees in this vicinity, (of which but few escaped,) there was one tree, which, standing upon the south side of the house, afforded a shade to several windows, And could not without much inconvenience be dispensed with. Looking upon its destruction as pretty certain, however, I proposed removing to it an Ampelopsis of some antiquity, which stood in a not very suitable spot, with the expectation that the vine would mantle the dead branches, and afford some shade until another tree could be reared. The creeper was removed with perfect success; its stem - nearly or quite an inch in r diameter - was twined about the trunk and principal branches to the height of perhaps twenty Ifeett and moderately pruned. The experiment was so entirely successful, that by being enveloped in the broad foliuge of the Tine, the tree was saved from the ravages of the insect to such an extent that it only lost a part of its top, and is now in fine health, the only survivor of a large number of equal age: nor is this all.
The Ampelopsis has grown with the greatest vigor, notwithstanding it was planted within four feet of the tree, and now overruns nearly the whole of the latter, hanging in masses and festoons from the higher branches, a perfect wilderness of foliage. I do not hesitate to say that it is the most beautiful object on the place, its young shoots, with their small and delicate light green leaves, forming a remarkably fine contrast to the immense foliage of the darkest green, which clothes the old wood. In addition to this, the gorgeous appearance of the whole mass after the October frosts have changed the different shades of green to the most brilliant and varied tints of crimson, scarlet, and yellow, is beyond my powers of description.
Its culture is the most simple: when young it should have a moderately rich and light soil in which to establish itself, for I think much depends upon giving it "a good start." The young shoots should be trained with some care to the surface which they are to occupy, whether of wood, stone, or brick, (the latter is perfectly appropriate). After they have become firmly attached, which they will soon do, if undisturbed, the plant may be left mostly to itself, watering well once or twice, if dry, and occasionally training a rambling shoot "in the way it should go." E.
[We know nothing to take the place of the Ampdopsis hederacea - it is so rapid in its growth, so thoroughly a shade one, and so tractable as to produce an immediate effect We find it at the north, and frequently far down in Southern states. The A. bipinnata, or Pepper-vine, which we have also cultivated, is hardly less beautiful, having a red tinge on its new growth; it requires something like an arbor or strings to cling to by its grape-like tendrils, and is very useful for an arch. - Ed. H. ]