Let’s save our sacred ivy

Ivy (Hedera helix)

I’m often requested to remove the dreaded Ivy from walls and trees in customers’ gardens, their claim is always backed up, “My builder said that Ivy would ruin my wall” or “It’s going to kill that tree”. In my 30 plus years as a professional gardener, I know this not to be quite true. 

Firstly, Ivy does not kill trees, and the woodland trust does not advise removal. 

Secondly, if you remove well-established ivy from old stone walls often you can create more problems with shrinkage and stone becoming loose as the ivy dies back. I know many a garden wall where both Ivy and wall have lived together for many years and will continue to do so. If you have a suspect brick wall, on your house or garden and the growth of the Ivy is younger, you might be advised to remove it. 

A Real Gardener tradesman tip: Try a hard prune of the ivy back to the wall in early spring, to help keep control and save the plant. Work on alternative walls of ivy every couple of years, so you maintain a sanctuary for your nesting birds.

Your sacred Ivy supports a vast array of insects, birds and small mammals, both from the flowers and berries, particularly in the winter. I have also learned from the Woodland Trust that it is an important food plant for butterflies and moths like holly blue and swallow-tailed moth. More informative information can found on the Woodland Trust’s website here

In Celtic folklore – Ivy showing us how to keep going when things get difficult, how to persevere with seemingly impossible challenges until we reach our goal. I think this is apt encouragement in the garden and in life.

More enchanting knowledge on this can be found here >

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Bishops Castle, SY9 5PA

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