Beware invader from the east
IT IS becoming a challenge to write a new festive Nature Notes after 10 years. I have written about robins, Christmas trees, the holly and the ivy, but what about russian ivy? Russian ivy is a garden plant which is appearing more in our countryside, but it is not a plant which I would choose to have in my small garden. To give you a clue, another name for russian ivy is mile a minute and yes, this aggressive climber really does hide a wall or fence in no time at all. The problems come when it escapes or gets dumped in the wider countryside and starts spreading very quickly. The flowers are white and are held in big clumps or clusters which hang down from the climber. The leaves are paired, big and are pointed in shape. It can still be in flower through December and the leaves are still on certain sheltered plants at this time of the year, but it is not an evergreen, unlike our British ivy. This plant might be good for nesting birds, but I would recommend caution if you plant it and best maybe to try a less vigorous climber to hide some untidy corner wall or fence.