Over the last year I have often mentioned the ivy that grows on the stone wall around my garden. Generally I am complaining about it and hailing, loudly, “It has to go”. As though it is sticking two fingers up at me, the more I cut it the more it grows. Anyone who has ivy will agree that it seems to thrive on being cut. I deliberately say cut and not pruned, because pruning is not a sufficient enough deterrent. I have even tried to cut it off at the roots but to my amazement it seem to just be living off the wall.
Left to its own devices it would take over the flower beds and lawn. Part of my regular garden regime is to pull up runners and the little seedlings that have been dispersed by the birds when they have eaten the berries. The trunk of the ivy on the bottom wall has been sawn through twice but it continues to grow green and lush. If I really want rid of it, I will have to dig a large hole around the base, drill into the roots and apply a killer such at Root Out. Before I do this I have to be sure I really want it all gone or just that I need to spend more time keeping it under control.
Love it or loathe it Hedera Helix is part of my garden therefore, after 10 years of fighting it, in 2012 I will view it from a different angle and embrace its virtues.
- Although it is probably doing dreadful damage to the stone wall, it gives height and privacy to the garden.
- It provides a wonderful home for birds and insects alike
- The garden has all year round greenery
- It is great for attracting wildlife
- From late summer to late autumn the small creamy coloured flowers are rich in nectar for bees and insects, and
- In the winter the purple-black berries provide an important source of winter food for a large variety of birds.
As I have signed up for the Big Wild Life Garden the ivy will have a stay of execution but will be subjected to more regular haircuts than in previous years. I will learn not to complain about it (too much anyway) and enjoy it, knowing that I am doing my bit for the British wildlife.
Charles Dickens wrote a poem about ivy, although I dispute his referring to it as “dainty”. I chose this poem because my ivy is growing over an old Victorian stone wall which does appear to feed it.
The Green Ivy by Charles Dickens
- Feed the birds: How to ready your garden for winter (guardian.co.uk)
- Wildlife In The Garden (gardeningcanuck.wordpress.com)
- Big Wildlife Garden competition: Time to put life back into Britain’s gardens (telegraph.co.uk)
- Top 10 ways to attract more wildlife (telegraph.co.uk)