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December's issue of The English Garden includes my feature on ivy, a plea to gardeners to see its potential rather than treating it as an enemy. Friend to wildlife, endlessly malleable, you just need to show it who's boss.

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In literature it's often used as a signifier of decay. According to Penelope Lively in her wonderful book Life in the Garden, 'ivy is definitely the novelist's plant of choice: as soon as ivy sneaks in you know it is there with possibly sinister intent'.

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I love the fact that not all ivy leaves are ivy-leaved.... think about it. A few of my favourites above: Jake, Bill Archer and Cockle Shell shot at Fibrex Nurseries in Warwickshire, holder of a National Collection of Hedera helix.