“Oh, I can’t
Stop you putting roots in my dreamland
My house of stone, your ivy grows
And now I’m covered in you”

From Ivy by Taylor Swift

It’s not the first time I’ve seen complaints about ivy on here, but apart from a difficulty removing it I’m not sure what the problem is. Maybe that’s enough for most of you?

Veddw House copyright Anne Wareham

Veddw House with ivy.

Many many years ago I saw a neighbour painting his house walls. Admittedly his was a big house with much wall but it made me aware that that was a job I didn’t fancy and there were no funds to pay anyone else to do it. Our house already looked rather manky. So I invested in a book on ivy instead,

Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall on Ivies

Ivies by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall

bought two or three ivies and set those to cover up the house and garage.

The house and garage then got covered in time, though all signs of the interesting varieties vanished as our bog standard version took over. At least I assume that’s what happened. They can’t have magically changed to different sorts. But they did the job and I have always assumed that they keep the house warmer and dryer: I love watching a downpour running and dripping down the ivy. If you fancy doing the same, do bear in mind that it leaves its clinging bits behind if you subsequently try to take it off the wall.

You probably, given the comments I have come across about ivy, think I’m bonkers. Well, I am, but not so much about ivy. Here’s what the RHS have to say: Ivy keeps buildings cooler and less damp, research shows. 

I would rather they had said “Research shows that ivy keeps buildings cooler and less damp”, but that’s just me being fussy. The research pleases me. I love the picture of the little houses they made for the experiment:

Ivy on buildings experiment

Sorry they are shouting at you….

But – confession: we don’t have ivy on the south side of the house, where it would give most benefit. Partly because we would have difficulty seeing out of the conservatory, and partly because we like our black walls.

Conservatory Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

Not an ideal place to cover with ivy.

You do have to take care of the ivy, like a hedge. It needs cutting at least once a year to keep it from climbing indoors to say hello.

And one of our house walls is a bit high for it to sensibly be cut, so we employed a cunning trick, also by courtesy of the RHS – anti graffiti paint. This stops it adhering to the wall, making cutting it easier. (Hint, someone! It’s time!)

Ivy on house wall copyright Anne Wareham

The anti graffiti paint is the black line, and yes! It needs cutting!

And at the same time, it has to be cut back close against the wall too, to keep it from bushing out. This change to a shrub, which ivy miraculously performs if permitted, is what gives it the fatal weight and size to ultimately pull walls down. 

As for ivy in the garden, Charles hates it emerging from under hedges into his paths, so pulls it out of the hedges periodically. Otherwise, like ground elder and other rather dedicated wild plants (ha – there we are pleasing the we love weeds wild garden people!) it creeps around and gets planted into. From where it sometimes emerges rather cheekily.

Ivy on cutout Buzzard at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

That’s a cutout of a buzzard when it’s not being sat on.

I have to imagine that everything grows more energetically here on the Welsh border, so that things other people hate are kept in check by everything else which people no doubt hate: all the plants in the garden. You’d expect a lot of ivy in our wood, but there’s not so much:

Ivy on cutout Buzzard at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

That’s moss on the trees.

The Coppice at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham

There’s a bit on the rocks in the Coppice. What are your woodlands like?

I’m sorry if we sent it over to you at great cost to you all. But don’t curse it entirely – some of us love it. Especially those ubiquitous pollinator things, at the time of year when other pollen is a bit scarcer here.

Bee on ivy flower at Veddw Garden copyright Anne Wareham


We cut the ivy on the garage and where it has bushed out in the Coppice after it has finished flowering. Bees, wasps, flies, hoverflies – all those love it. It gets very noisy. Do you really all hate it??