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Re: Ivies

  • Subject: Re: Ivies
  • From: William F Hummel <wfhummel@COMCAST.NET>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 15:34:24 -0700

Hi Sandy,

The only mini ivies I know of are Gay Baby and Sugar Baby.  Gay Baby
is a true miniature.  It behaves much like a real ivy.  I planted one
in semi-shade at least fifteen years ago, and it seems indestructible.
It continues to trail along the ground, showing very small single
white flowers during late spring and early summer.  It has an
attractive habit, and should be a good pot plant.  But the flowers are
so insignificant that I can't recommend it as other than a novelty and
for its habit.

I have never owned Sugar Baby, which I understand is very popular in
the UK.  There is a beautiful picture of it in Alan Shellard's book
"Geraniums for Home and Garden", published by David and Charles
(British), 1981.  It is considered a dwarf, with "small mid-green
leaves, double, small rose-pink flowers with darker markings on upper
petals, paling with age but holding much longer than other ivies and
flowering over a longer period. ...  Not recommended for outdoor
purposes, but it makes an excellent greenhouse pot plant and show
plant."  =20

I haven't been able to find my old copies of the IGS journal or my
notes on the cultivars that were once in my collection.  I'll let you
know if I do run across them. =20

As I recall, our first meeting of the IGS was in Santa Paula, CA at
the house of the fellow who organized it.  I believe that was in 1953,
too long ago for me to remember his name.  (First name was Paul, I
think.)  He got into legal difficulties and withdrew as president
within a couple of years after the society was founded.  The only
other member I can recall was Fred Bode who was a commercial grower of
geraniums in the Domingues Hills just south of Los Angeles.  Fred had
a number of acres of geraniums and a very active business, shipping
all over the world.  I used to visit his fields and that's where I
obtained most of the cultivars that I collected.  Fred later sold his
business and retired to Oceanside, CA where I last saw him in the


>Hi William,
>What a great response.  I have lived in Grass Valley only one year and =
is the furtherest (is that a word?) inland have ever.  We built a =
greenhouse for my plants but wish I had another.  No, they cannot =
overwinter without protection.  I am hoping to grow the mini and compact =
ivies and have been told they make nice windowsill plants in winter.  If =
they do, my goal is to promote both the small ivies and small zonals as =
windowsill plants in the Sierra foothills.  Many do not even know what =
exists since there are very few nurseries growing or selling specialty =
>Would be interested since I cannot see the plants in person of knowing =
which ivies have burgundy colored flowers and if you have comments on =
>Would love to know about the history of the founding of the society from=
 your perspective.  Do you have any of the original journals?  The reason=
 I ask is that we have the GATW searchable CD project going, and have a =
needs list of good quality very old journals.  When they are scanned, we =
need the best we can get.
>William F Hummel <wfhummel@COMCAST.NET> wrote:
>Hello Sandy,
>I was a founding member of the International Geranium Society and
>served on the original Board of Directors, but haven't been active for
>over 30 years. For some reason I my love of geraniums, and ivies in
>particular, renewed this spring. That's probably because a couple of
>old plants climbing through a trellis against a seven foot wall in my
>back yard have been in full flower for a month or more and have been
>providing a spectacular display. The ivies in that display are Santa
>Paula and Nutmeg Lavender, both of which I would rate in the top ten
>of the group. =3D20
>Santa Paula is a solid bluish lavender, and Nutmeg Lavender is a
>delicate lavender blending to white in the centers of the florets.
>Both are semi-doubles, though Santa Paula could almost pass for a
>double. Nutmeg Lavender has a trailing character that makes it
>especially fine for baskets or pots. I have two of them growing in
>sixteen inch pots that are overflowing to the base, and completely
>covered with compact foliage and bloom.
>At one time I had a collection of over 75 ivy cultivars and was able
>to provide information that Helen van Pelt Wilson used in her book
>"Geraniums" (second edition), published in 1957 and now long out of
>print. =3D20
>I'd be interested to know the growing conditions in Grass Valley,
>which I suspect is too cold to for geraniums to survive the winter
>outdoors. On the west side of Los Angeles where I live, conditions
>are ideal for outdoor displays year around. =3D20

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