Monday, 6 July 2015

The Ivy Tree

Or, how to make a beautiful and interesting feature from something as horrible as ivy growing up a wall...

One of my Clients asked me to reduce the ivy growing up the outside of his garage, but he didn't want it removed completely, as the wall would otherwise be bare brick.

Now, I can think of half a dozen things that would be better to grow up a brick wall to disguise it, but no, he wanted to keep the ivy.

So I deliberately and maliciously cut it into a neat shape, clearing all the leaves off the lower stems. That was last year, and of course the wretched stuff keeps growing back, so every few months I have to clear away all the new growth.

Here it is, half done:

All I do is cut the stems heading for the gutter: you can see on the left where I am working my way across.

Having cut each ascending stem, I then pull them away from the wall - and by the way, if you find yourself doing this, don't pull "away" from the wall or they will snap off, leaving you with bits clinging way out of reach. Instead, ease each stem a couple of inches away from the wall, then pull "downwards".

I know this seems illogical, but by doing so, you can get huge long lengths off all in one piece, which is easier to clear up, and means you don't have to get a ladder out to reach those pesky out-of-reach parts.

Having cut across the top, I then locate any loose stems that are growing away from the wall, and clip those right back. This leaves me just with one layer of ivy,  covering the wall but not forming a mat of hanging greenery. If you leave the hanging stuff, the leaves underneath will die off, so when you do cut back the loose ones, or if they get damaged, all you have are nasty grey stems and dead leaves. By clipping them right back, you keep a flush of new green leaves tight to the wall, which is much neater and easier to manage.

And here is the finished article - cunningly cut to look like a small copse of trees.

Nice,  don't you think?





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