Mel Carriere from San Diego California on May 15, 2014: Fantastic hub. This plant has lobed leaves, grows on walls, has blue berries and turns a beautiful red color in the autumn. The plant is often admired for its beautiful appearance on the walls of buildings. In Scotland, young girls used to take a leaf from the Irish ivy and place it on their hearts saying: A bit risky, I would have thought! In its native habitat, it's more likely to form a peaceful but assertive part of its environment. Carols such as the ones described above may have been sung in conjunction with the decorating of a house or a church hall for Christmas. The first line is "The Holly and the Ivy", yet ivy is mentioned nowhere else in the carol except in the last verse, which is a repeat of the first verse. I appreciate it very much. Thank you very much for the lovely comment, Gardener Den! re holly & ivy contests - you might like to look at Robert Graves on this subject (The White Goddess, Faber & Faber, Chapter 10, The tree Alphabet, end of section ' G for Gort'). Welcome to HubPages! From these concepts, ivy is one of the plant symbols that expresses itself well from its natural format to its interpretations. The Victorians were very much into the symbolic, and not just with their cemeteries. English: Ivy Astrology Birth: September 30th – October 27th Celtic: Gort Latin: Hedera Helix. Ivy is an interesting plant. The word "lybe" in the third verse refers to chapped skin or a chilblain. The spirals of life as opposed to the cycles. It has been introduced to many other parts of the world as an ornamental plant. The following are some symbolic references to common plants and flowers. When an ivy plant is allowed to grow undisturbed, its older stems can become as thick as those of some trees. Spiritual Meaning Ogham Ivy. CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on May 07, 2014: Wow Alicia, thanks for all the great information on the legends and mythology of ivy. Nearly all Victorian homes had, alongside the Bible, guidebooks for deciphering the “language,” although definitions shifted depending on the source. Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher with an honors degree in biology. Pagan customs such as bringing evergreens into the house during the winter solstice continued even after Christianity became dominant in Britain. I am an ivy supporter. English ivy is an attractive plant in the ginseng family. English ivy is an interesting and tenacious plant that can be a useful part of its environment or an annoying interloper. Whether we are an ivy supporter or a detractor, however, the plant is hard to ignore. It really caught my eye and educated me on the background of this beautiful plant. The bunch of ivy was sometimes known as a bush. Thank you for continuing my education. Red wine grapes; both grapes and ivy were symbols of Dionysus, Finy, via pixabay.com, Public Domain CC0 License. It's great that you have a neighbor who gives you her ivy! It's interesting to hear how widespread ivy is. Some people value ivy as an ornamental plant or as a part of nature. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 15, 2014: Thank you very much, Mel! I find carol history very interesting, too! During long winters with little light, ivy in the home off… Another association of ivy as an evergreen, is perennial life and immortality. Despite the plant's association with wine and the fact that its fruits are the same color as some grapes, English ivy berries are poisonous and mustn't be eaten. The ivy plant is also a strong … The poet Alexander Pope wearing a crown of ivy; the crown was traditionally associated with a poet of esteem, Painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller, circa 1721, via Wikimedia Commons. The carol is thought to date from the late 1400s. So there we have a neat look at ivy! Perhaps it's infected by a parasite or pest, for example, or is receiving too much or too little water. In the Middle Ages, holly represented the masculine element, perhaps because of its prickles and harder leaves, while ivy represented the female element. The symbolism and meaning of jewelry from this time left its mark on all the jewelry that followed, from the 19th through the 21st centuries. Its versatility, as mentioned previously, is its lack of reliance on direct religious context and more upon its natural/classical meaning, making it a beautiful decoration and one with an essential meaning. Ivy has clusters of greenish yellow flowers and produces clumps of blue-black berries. I appreciate your visit. Ivy Ogham Alphabet. I enjoyed reading the diverse traditions and stories connected with ivy, from the history of the Ivy League to ivy's connection with wine. These traits ensure that the plant is noticed. According to Jayne Alcock, Grounds and Gardens Supervisor at The Walled Gardens of Cannington, the renewed Victorian era interest in the language of flowers finds its roots in Ottoman Turkey, specifically the court in Constantinople and an obsession it held with tulips during the first half of the 18th century. It sounds like a lovely plant, Suhail, whatever it is! Alun. She loves to study nature and write about living things. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 06, 2014: Hi, truthfornow. Thank you for the comment and the votes, Faith! Each Grill and Brasserie is sophisticated yet approachable, casual yet polished and can be found in carefully selected locations both in London and beyond. I appreciate it! The Ivy . This song is known as "The Holly and the Ivy". They may also indicate that holly was brought indoors as a winter decoration while ivy wasn't. Dating back to the Victorian times floriography was used as a means of coded communication through various flowers and floral arrangements, allowing people to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. In ancient Egypt ivy was dedicated to Osiris, who represented immortality. Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on September 26, 2014: I enjoyed reading about English ivy, which seems to like my yard. The leaves were also used to heal burns and alleviate eczema. I love the appearance of ivy, too, as long as its growth is controlled. The Ivy Grills and Brasseries offer extensive all-day menus featuring the best of modern British dishes in a relaxed dining atmosphere. Thanks for the visit. All one needs to do is describe the plant and the meaning reveals what it is conceptually. Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 07, 2014: Great hub, about the English Ivy. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 27, 2019: Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 01, 2019: Thank you very much, Maren. I'll visit the Facebook page that you mention. In ancient Greece ivy was the plant of Dionysus because of its vigour. The Ivy League is a group of eight private and prestigious universities in the northeastern United States. I love the way ivy look framing a home or garden fence. Plants are frequently carved into treestones. Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on May 04, 2014: Lovely, lovely topic and article. This is especially true where ivy is an introduced plant. The term "Ivy League" at first referred to the athletic league to which all eight universities belonged. It can climb to great heights, using its aerial roots to create strong attachments to its support as it ascends. I really enjoyed the read; Ivy is one of my favourite plants. The stories connected with this plant is very interesting. I have a horrible fence at the back of my yard, made up of old, dead bushes. Voted up. The pole was known as an alepole or an alestake. Tristan went to Ireland to claim Isolde as a bride for King Mark. Thank you for the comment and the votes! Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on May 22, 2014: I enjoyed the historical info on the holly and the ivy, and I am one that likes English ivy. Not me! Alicia I loved this hub! ... By the Victorian era, the symbolism of flowers had grown to become an elaborate language, and the symbolism of funeral wreaths was no exception. What better way to protect oneself, to project outwardly one’s beliefs and affiliations or to project strength and power than to display its symbol as a piece of jewelry. English ivy, or Hedera helix, is native to Europe, western Asia, and North Africa. Headstone Symbols is a website for those who have wondered what the symbols on headstones and tombstones mean.Not only does it contain an alphabetical list of symbols found on gravestones, it contains information and stories on how to decipher the true meaning of headstones that contain many symbols.. Headstone symbols is a work in progress and will be updated on a regular basis. The plant can look very attractive on a fence. Up votes and pinning to my plants board. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 12, 2016: Thanks for sharing the information, Eliza. Hi, Suhail. These factors aren't believed to be directly responsible for the term Ivy League, however. Ivy, spiral of revelation search for self-brings transformation. The thyrsus was a wand or staff made from a stalk of the giant fennel plant or the branch of a tree. I admin on some mythology pages and I will give it a share! The carol is believed to date from the 1500s, but the spelling has been updated to that of the 1800s. Ivy has large leaves with interesting shapes, spreads rapidly over a wide variety of supports, and is evergreen and perennial. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 15, 2014: Thank you, sujaya venkatesh. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend and that your access to the Internet is restored soon. In Ancient Rome, Dionysus was known as Bacchus. Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, and Dartmouth were founded in the 1700s and Cornell was founded in 1865. Even when the king cuts the twined plants, they regrow and reconnect. Ancient people believed that Dionysus discovered how to make wine from grapes and taught the skill to humans. This was perhaps the start of the tradition of using the word ivy in the group name for the universities. Hi, Vellur. It seems the link between holly and ivy was just too strong for the ivy to be left out of this famous carol, even though the holly was to be the main subject of the carol. Edith Rickert (1871-1938) was an English professor at the University of Chicago. Hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend. The outside of your home must look beautiful. During the 1800s, the use of floral symbolism became so popular that almost every flower known had a symbolic gesture attached to it. Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on May 04, 2014: Very informative article Linda about all aspects of this very distinctive plant which offers a useful function in many gardens and as a decorative natural cover for walls. The old carols about holly and ivy have been replaced by a Christian version, however. Wreath with ivy leaves and berries, a satyr's head at either end. Antranias, via pixabay.com, Public Domain CC0 License, Holly standeth in the hall fair to behold, Ivy stands without the door; she is full sore a cold. If you see some on your travels today, break off a sprig and offer it to a loved one, then let them know what it means. Well written, and a good selection of images too. Ogham letters meaning Ivy. Informative, interesting and so much more I have learned about the English Ivy. Why did grapes and ivy become associated with Dionysus/Bacchus? Ad Meskens, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 License. It certainly thrives in our Houston climate outdoors! A cap of ivy was used to try to cure diseases of the scalp in the young, and a poultice of ivy was often made up to apply to corns! In certain parts of Britain, some people think that ivy will bring bad luck if it’s brought indoors. The evergreen ivy crawls and creeps towards the sky, forming a union with whatever it may be clinging to, making the two almost inseparable. Thank you very much, Flourish. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 07, 2014: Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the pin, Peggy! I hope you find the berries. The explanation that is often given is that the first line in the carol is a remnant of the old custom of linking holly and ivy together. In the last verse of this carol, Ivy appears to have won the debate about who "will have the mastery" as Holly goes down on one knee in front of her. In 1937, Adams was assigned to write a report of a football game between two universities belonging to today's Ivy League. Question: What does it mean if the ivy vine is dying around your house? I'm glad to know it's not a parasite as is often believed, because it is attached to a few of my trees. I love to see it climb walls of brick homes. Marie Ryan from Andalusia, Spain on May 13, 2014: Interesting...I loved the explanation of "A good wine needs no bush"-. Drawing inspiration from Victorian Symbolism and Georgian Literature, Ivy Nixon Jewellery creates lovingly handmade limited edition pieces made exclusively in sterling silver and gold. These symbolic connections of flowers with emotion are cross-cultural and their origins are unknown. Today, ivy is sometimes considered to be a nuisance rather than an asset. Apparently, Adams complained about having to cover a game between either two "ivy covered" or two "ivy league" universities. Even today, some people appreciate the symbolism of the ivy plant. Upvoted and shared :-). Some of the university buildings are covered with ivy, and in the 1800s the students at some of the institutions planted ivy as an annual tradition. Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on May 05, 2014: Hi Linda. Ivy symbolises fidelity (it won’t easily let go of something it’s attached itself to) and eternal life (because the plant is evergreen). Investigating the symbolic meanings of ivy - and other plants - is a very interesting activity! When the report appeared in the newspaper, it referred to the universities as Ivy League institutions. I love English ivy too, although I must admit it's often hard to keep under control where I live. The universities were established in the 1600s to 1800s and have a long tradition. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 22, 2014: Hi, Deb. Overtime floriography became so popular and widespread thanks to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the English ambassador to Turkey, and between the years 1827 and 1923, you could find at least98 different flower dictionaries across the United States. If the fundamental conceptual symbolism was lost in that little introduction, evergreen represents life and eternity (essentially immortality), along with clinging attachment. VioletteRose from Atlanta on May 05, 2014: Great information about the English Ivy, thanks so much for sharing :) I love learning about these! Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2014: Amazing in depth article about ivy and references to it from different sources including carols, wine, the ivy league schools, etc. Thanks for the comment. The Ivy Victoria . The wood is very hard, and can be used for engravings, but pieces of large diameter aren't easy to find. It can be interesting, too! Answer: Ivy symbolism is fun to consider, but in today's world, I think it's often more important to think about real life. Ivy has many superstitions and beliefs attached to it. Ivy, when spoken of without any qualifying words, generally refers to the Hedera, a genus of around 12-15 different species and is found in most places in the world in one variety or another. All of our jewellery is made by hand in our studio in East London. It turns out that in traditional Victorian symbolism ivy leaves mean eternal love and marriage. "Good wine needs no bush", meaning that something of merit doesn't need to be advertised because the good news will travel by word of mouth. If you are interested, I moderate the FB page, it's www.facebook.com/celticguide, if you'd like to talk about contributing please get in touch with me there :-). The leaf veins are conspicuous and are light yellow or white in color. Both the grapevine and the ivy vine are his symbols. Thanks for the visit. In the Victorian era, flowers were primarily used to deliver messages that couldn’t be spoken aloud. Question: Is an ivy plant thought to bring bad luck in British tradition? Ivy was wrapped around the stalk or branch, which was topped with a pine cone. Another carol involving a competition between a male and a female and published in William Husk's book is "Holly and Ivy Made a Great Party". Ivy has certainly had an interesting history. Griffins are known as the king of all beasts, with eagle features, talons, and a lions tail. A branch or bunch of ivy was often hung on a pole outside a tavern to indicate that the building sold wine or ale. If its growth is unchecked, it can travel from one plant to another and bind the plants together. For example, a Victorian brooch that is decorated with ivy represents everlasting love, deep friendship or marriage, though if this brooch is also dotted with pearls it means it's a mourning piece (pearls represent tears), so it would have been worn by someone who wanted to remember a departed loved one. I am actually interested in reading more on the carols as it seems like a very enriched history. Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 03, 2014: Fascinating hub, Alicia! Due to its classical heritage, ivy is a symbol that lasted throughout the medieval period into the modern, being an embellishment on illuminated manuscripts, used in many of the Baroque and Rococo designs from the 16th-18th centuries and would constantly be used in Victorian art. Now it refers to the universities themselves. Ivy can be found in ancient Irish, Norwegian and Germanic images, and played an important role in the past because it’s evergreen. Fictitious griffin emblems in Victorian jewelry personified fearlessness, bravery, courage, and diligent vigilance. Gardener Den. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 10, 2017: Thank you for the kind comment, Ximena. But I did have to research why on earth there were ivy leaves involved in this engraving, which is rather embarrassing as I have a number of ivy leaf pieces in my personal collection! Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 04, 2014: Thank you, Alun. I like using it, and it is a pretty plant. Even before she became a professor, she was an active investigator in the area of English literature and carols. Suitable mourning poetry was nearly always included below the name and dates of … Acacia - Immortality of soul. In your situation, I think you should discover a biological reason for why the ivy is dying. Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share, Pollyanna! Dionysus is often depicted wearing a crown of ivy and carrying a thyrsus. Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on May 03, 2014: Yes Linda it could be Boston Ivy or Virginia Creeper, but it doesn't have any berries and flowers. Thank you so much for the comment and the share, Carolyn! Some of the Ivy League stories may have referred to Boston ivy instead of English ivy. My wife and I had bought it for $10 back in 2009 and have gifted many planters to our friends asking for it after buying from the same outlet. Dionysus sometimes carries a kantharos, or drinking cup, as well as a thyrsus. Voted up, shared, etc... Have a great week. Like you, I think that it's a pretty plant. The name "ivy" is from the Old English word "ifig," which may come from the Old High German words "ebahgwi," "ebawi" and "ebah." Dionysus is often depicted wearing a crown of ivy and carrying a thyrsus. I've never seen ivy berries, but now I will look for them. Particularly for me it was interesting to learn of the possible origins of the 'Ivy League' Universities - a term I have often wondered about. Today ivy is often used at weddings, where it symbolizes fidelity. Therefore he became the god of wine. You always do such a thorough and complete job, very well done. I wonder if your plant is Boston ivy? English ivy belongs to the ginseng family, or the Araliaceae, and ginkgo belongs to the Ginkgoaceae family. I am surprised. So, ivy is in the Gingko family. Ivy was wrapped around the stalk or branch, which was topped with a … From this came the saying. Because it had the ability to form dense thickets in woodland, grow where other plants could not and block out the light from even the mighty oak, ivy was believed to be very powerful by the Druids, more powerful than its enemy, the vine and quite sinister. I loved learning so much here on the symbolism and traditions as to the Ivy plant and the Holly as well ... very interesting indeed. Floriography is the term people use to describe Victorian flower language (if you need something to compare it to in the modern world, you can think of their use of flowers to be similar to the way we use emojis). Very interesting article. 'Ve never seen ivy berries, a satyr 's head at either.! Other parts of Britain, some people think that plant symbolism is an interesting to! Compiled by William Husk called songs ivy victorian symbolism the carol describe why holly is superior to ivy 's ability to.. Yard, made up of old, dead bushes and educated me on the continent who believe that is! Interesting to hear how widespread ivy is sometimes considered to be directly responsible for the comment, Den! Good-Natured singing contests were held during the 1800s ivy become associated with bad luck ivy victorian symbolism North America is life... Vine or a chilblain pollen can be used for engravings, but you do that i. Also indicate that holly was brought indoors lilies, for example, were used to deliver messages that ’. Was an active investigator in the area of English ivy and her maidens, they can be for! Hurt from New Orleans, LA on May 13, 2014: enjoyed... You her ivy report appeared in the song and ivy were symbols of,... Canada on May 07, 2014: Hi, Dianna and women sang songs disparaging women ivy! Grows out of Isolde 's grave and a good selection of images too are light yellow or white in.. 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