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Elizabeth and Malcolm's Bluetit Pages
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davevikingr



Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 97
Location: Ryedale, North Yorkshire

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi - I was referring to Steph's entry with respects to the sycamore etc. Holly is native across Britain and, aside from the physical protection of the spines it's evergreen nature provides year-round shelter for birds and the berries provide food. Holly is also home to a wide range of natrive invertebrates.

Ivy comes in a great variety of - varieties - and is far more valuable, being native, than such introduced shrubs as pyracantha. Our native wildlife has developed over the thousands of years since the last ice-age to exist in ecosystems that obviously include native plants. If you ever look into a mature area of ivy you will see it is teeming with life.

This ancient ecosystem development is why natives should always be the plants of preference in wildlife gardening. Many introduced species provide certain advantages, such as buddleia but these are limited compared to natives.

Of course in a garden situation we tend to strive for a balance - as demonstrated well in the new BBC series Wild About Gardening. Your other point about ivies taking over is only relevent if you let them. An annual trim of the ivy would be by far more than enough to control it - more likely every 2-3 years - that is a lot less maintainance than a regular hedge.
Nor does ivy damage walls (before anyone brings it up)- this is a myth. The tiny rootlets along the ivy stems secure themselves in irregularities in surfaces, such as brick and mortar - they do not burrow into things. Where mortar is already crumbling then obviously the rootlets can push into the cracks. Ivy should be kept of rooves as the stems can find their way under the tiles and then expand in groweth.
Finally (again before someone brings it up) ivy does not suffocate what it grows on. Ivy is not parasitic and only uses other plants for support. If that plant is old and weak then the added weight of ivy may hasten it's downfall (literally).
Ivy, and other natives such as holly, willow, hawthorn, blackthorn, elder, ash, beech (in the south) and of course oak, (to name a few) are extremely valuable plants for wildlife. Non-natives, even 'wildlife friendly' ones like pyracantha and buddleia are simply reasonable substitutes where someone wants other characteristics, such as ornamental value.

As you may have guessed landscaping and wildlife gardening is my profession
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Hanlou



Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 28
Location: Derbyshire

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A 'balance' is indeed key - I don't hope for nor expect perfection. We only have a medium sized garden after all. Smile

I'm afraid I still don't like Ivy and even if it doesn't do damage I have seen the marks left on walls by ivy when it has been cut down at it's base and so am not convinced! So we'll keep just our pyracantha for now as our climber - as I said, we also want the back of the garden to have a security aspect to it which the pyracantha provides via it's prickliness. It also is prettier than ivy to look at with the flowers and berries it has.

I have looked into mature pyracantha and seen it 'teeming with life' also so even though it may not be native it is still valuable - in fact I have often seen it used as a nesting site for various birds.

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Hannah x
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Strixaluco



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 5464
Location: Mayford, Sy

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hanlou wrote:
I'm afraid I still don't like Ivy and even if it doesn't do damage I have seen the marks left on walls by ivy when it has been cut down at it's base and so am not convinced!


I do like ivies, and I don't t believe they harm walls that are in good condition - but you're quite right about the marks that are left when a plant is cut down. We had an ivy near our front door which we removed because it was spreading too much - the door frame will take a lot of hard sanding before the "anchorage points" can be removed, and I doubt if we'll be able to get the wall clean.

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Elizabeth
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