|Ivy Leaves - 22 March 2016|
In parts of the park, ivy not only festoons the the trunk of every tree with a thick, shaggy green coat, it also carpets the ground beneath. Together with long tendrils hanging down from the branches, these areas take on the atmosphere of a lush forest.
|Ivied Trees - 29 January 2017|
The thick ivy tresses on the trunks, fill the space between the trees
making a wall of green.
Ivy and WildlifeBut is ivy a friend or a foe? Contrary to what some may think, ivy does not kill trees. It is not a parasite, and uses the trees purely for support; it derives all its nutrients from its roots. It is easy to believe that ivy is the culprit, when you see a dying tree, its crown completely infested with the plant. However, the host had to be moribund before the ivy could grow that much, as a healthy tree canopy can provide more than enough shade to deny the ivy the light it needs for photosynthesis and growth.
|Ivy Tendrils - 18 September 2016|
Tendrils hanging down give a tropical forest feel to the woods
Ivy is undoubtedly of great value for wildlife. Its dense foliage provides a place where birds can nest, bats can hide, and insects hibernate. Its leaves are eaten by a number of insects, including the angle shades moth. Ivy flowers are an important source of nectar at a time of year when there are few other sources. Its berries provide food for a number of birds including blackbirds, thrushes and black caps. This winter, the berries have been disappearing as soon as they are ripe.
|Ivy Covered Bank - 6 February 2017|
Ivy provides a thick ground cover, with leaves turning a rich red during autumn
FolkloreIvy is rich in folk lore and mythology. Its main claim to fame is its eponymous reference in the carol 'The Holly and the Ivy'; although ivy is not mentioned at all after the first line. The holly in this carol represents Christ, the reference to ivy is probably a hangover from earlier traditions which linked the two plants. In fact, during the fifthteenth and sixteenth century there were a number of holly and ivy carols.
|Ivy Tendrils - 24 February 2015|
It is difficult to believe that ivy is harmless, when the whole trunk of a tree is smothered in its tendrils
In these early traditions, holly represents the male and ivy the female. Ivy would be brought into the house at Christmas as a symbol of fertility. It was thought to be bring good luck to women; and if grown on the walls of the house protect its inhabitants against witch craft. Drinking ivy vinegar was said to protect against the plague.
|Ivy Flowers - 15 October 2016|
Note the lanceolate shaped leaves on the flowering branches
Ivy was sacred to Bacchus, the god of wine and orgies, who wore a crown of ivy, which gave him immortality. To the Romans, ivy was also a symbol of intellect, and winners of poetry competitions were awarded a wreath of ivy.
|Ivy Berries - 3 February 2017|
Rich food source for birds
the berries start disappearing from the bushes as soon as they are ripe
Further ReadingIvy - Friend or Foe?
The Importance of Ivy to Insects
English Ivy Symbolism, Traditions and Mythology
Folklore in My Garden - Ivy
Ivy - Hedera helix
Next: A Foggy Day