Best of the bunch
●● YOU won’t find a more dramatic sight in autumn than a Boston ivy, also known as Japanese creeper, covering north, east or westfacing walls, as its large, deeply lobed green leaves turn spectacular shades of blood red and purple. These self-clinging deciduous climbers love well-drained, fertile soil and grow in sun or shade, usually producing a crop of blue-black berries in late summer. When planting, ensure the stems are held securely against the wall with canes or lead-headed nails, to enable the tendrils to fix their pads firmly to the surface. The stems tend to grow vertically, so it’s worth spreading young stems out horizontally to cover a wider area. Boston ivy grows to a huge 20m (65ft), making it an ideal choice for really big walls. A more compact variety is ‘Beverley Brook’, which grows to 3m (10ft) or ‘Lowii’, which is very slow growing, reaching 3m (10ft). A taller type, ‘Veitchii’, will provide excellent autumn hues.