The winner of the American Ivy Society award Ivy of the Year 2005 is Hedera helix ‘Misty.’
Misty is a variegated, miniature, Bird’s Foot ivy in the Pierot Classification system. It was found as a mutation of H.h. ‘Needlepoint’ in the late 1970s. Ivies are called Bird’s Foot when the shape of their leaves resembles the track a bird’s foot makes in the snow.
The leaves of Misty have five narrow lobes in various shades of green and gray-green with a thin white margin and white veins. Under low temperatures, the white is diffused with a pink blush. It is winter-hardy, surviving to at least -20° F. Misty does well in the sun, but it does not lose its variegation in the shade, so it will do well in darker areas of the garden.
Its self-branching habit and small leaves make Misty well suited for pots, hanging baskets and topiaries. In fact, Misty is one of the top six ivies used by professional growers for both large and small topiaries because it tends to be very consistent in leaf size throughout the year and, with little adjustment, does well in full sun situations, according to AIS.
A committee made up of members of The American Ivy Society (AIS), nurserymen and growers across the United States choose the winner of the award that must complete a three-year trial period in the Society’s test gardens and commercial nurseries.
The Ivy of the Year is selected for its attractiveness, ease of growth and multi-purpose uses. According to the AIS, the ivy must be suitable for both interior use and exterior home landscaping. It must be beautiful, lush and noninvasive in a garden.
The American Ivy Society is dedicated to the education and promotion of the genus Hedera. Because of the rising popularity of ivy as a pot and garden plant, The American Ivy Society initiated the annual Ivy of the Year program in 2001, with the H.h. ‘Lady Frances.’ The winners since then have been H.h. ‘Golden Ingot’ 2002, H.h. ‘Teardrop’ 2003 and H.h. ‘Duck Foot’ 2004.
The American Ivy Society is offering a Seal of Verification for ivy that has come from a grower whose stock has been identified and verified as being true to name. The seal may be used on ivy labels so that wholesalers, retailers and gardeners will know that the ivy they have purchased has the correct name. Because ivy readily tends to revert, ivy stock should be verified every three to five years to keep it accurate.
For more information on the Ivy of the Year or the ivy Seal of Verification, visit www.ivy.org .