Saturday, February 5, 2011

Veitch's Boston Ivy

The 4th write of failure is placement and exposure.
Veitch's Boston Ivy is an example of a plant that can grow in Tucson, but if not placed in the proper spot around your home, it will die.  I have seen this plant here grow and it does extremely well on the Northern Side of the building.  I also feel that it would do well on the Eastern side of a building.  This climbing vine is quite beautiful when appropriately placed. The issue that I had with this particular ivy was that I put it in the wrong spot in the garden.  If it's one thing we all learn as gardeners, it's that we can't force a plant to grow in a spot if it's not happy.  Let's break down the sides of your home.
The East Side.  Great morning light with afternoon shade.  A gardener's paradise for transplants from the Midwest or East Coast.  Several of your favorite plants from back home may grow well here. Most people love to work on this side of their garden.
The West Side.  Hot hot hot hot sun! Cactus and plants like bouganvillea thrive here. Put those heat loving plants in that area.  It's relentless heat.  Relentless sun.....and watch your bouganvillea leaf that bright pink color!!!
The South Side.  My personal favorite in Tucson.  This is where I plant my subtropicals like the Jacaranda, bamboo, fruit trees.  It's also a hot side of the home but not like the West side. I absolutely wish I had more garden space here because you can plant so many fun tropicals in this space.  This gets sun in the morning and afternoon with a bit of afternoon shade.
The North Side.  Hey Mr. Gardener Man!  I'm new to Tucson.  What direction is North from my midtown home? Look to Mt. Lemon or the Santa Catalina mountains.  They indicate "North" here in town while the Rincon mountains indicate the East side of town.  Mt. Graham indicates the south and Gates Pass is the Western extreme of Tucson.  This is also another great spot to garden at your home.  Morning sun with afternoon shade....with just a little bit of early afternoon sun. My castor plants LOVED this side!!  I can't wait to plant more here:)
Veitch's Boston Ivy or several varieties of the Ivy family, like Algerian Ivy, do extremely well planted in the Northern and Eastern exposures.
One last interesting note for people new to gardening in Tucson or transplants from afar......
What does "full sun" mean here?
Exposure is an art form. My recommendation is to observe for 1 year how the light hits your home.  After awhile, you'll get a feel for what will do better and what won't.  Failure to do this will result in lots of money lost from your purse or wallet. Observation is the answer to this failure. And it is the reason why I lost this Ivy.  The other Ivy I'll talk about in another post.  Full sun on a tag doesn't always mean our full sun here in Tucson.  Plants many times will come from out of state garden centers. Full sun for many areas is not like full sun here in the desert.  After awhile, you begin to figure that out.  If you ever question what that means, ask an expert gardener and they'll give you the background.  My failure with these particular exposure issues were precisely related to the "full sun" misnomer.  Some really do mean FULL SUN while others just mean full sun.  So while it will say full sun for the Veitch's Boston Ivy, it means plant it on the Eastern or Northern sides.  You'll have a better chance of success with it there. My neighbor's have this plant growing along the side of their homes and it's absolutely gorgeous with wonderful fall foliage.  There are a couple more failures on the way.  Stay tuned as this series concludes this week.

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