Gardening Update: All about ivy

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The Independent Online
IVIES by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Chatto & Windus pounds 19.99) is a most sumptuous book on the subject, beautifully illustrated, but also practical, with a comprehensive glossary of the different varieties (there are more than 300) and what they will do. Ivies are willing accomplices in your most outrageous demands. They will climb up, hang down, scramble around as ground cover. They do not need sun. They will grow happily in tubs and hanging baskets.

They also offer interesting design possibilities. They make a striking geometrical grid on the vertical surface of a balcony illustrated in the book - a dark green chequerboard on startlingly white concrete.

I am trying to persuade a small-leaved greyish ivy called 'Adam' to make a diamond trellis on a dark wall behind a bed of hellebores. From this book I have chosen two friends, 'Silver King' and 'Heise' to accompany it. I've also started thinking about another sign-writing ivy project. Dangerous things, books.