Gardening: Cuttings: Creepers to order

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The Independent Online
AS IVY establishes best from short plants, it is the perfect mail-order purchase. Whitehouse Ivies produces one of the best mail-order catalogues I know. Each cultivar is afforded a descriptive drawing of a typical leaf, so you can see very clearly the shape and degree of variegation. How useful it would be if more specialist nurseries could afford to do the same.

It is an honest catalogue, too: it explains which varieties make successful climbers, trailers or container plants, and states their relative vigour. Better still, it indicates which are 'collectables' - with little garden value for most of us,however interesting they might be to a committed collector of ivies. Nothing is more disappointing than to send for a plant on the basis of an enthusiast's hype, only to find it is a novelty with a weak constitution.

Whitehouse Ivies, Brookhill, Halstead Road, Fordham, Colchester, Essex CO6 3LW (0206 240077). Catalogue pounds 1, refundable.

For further reference, 'Ivies' (Collins Aura Garden Series, pounds 2.99), and 'The New Topiary' by Patricia Riley (Hammer, Garden Art Press, 1991, pounds 25), are both useful.