Ivy is one of the best plants to add to your garden, from a wildlife point of view. Ivy is a foodplant for holly blue butterflies, provides a nesting space for birds in the spring, provides shelter from bad weather in the winter, the ripe berries are loved by birds (a particular favourite with blackbirds) and the flowers provide an important late source of nectar for bees, wasps and hoverflies. Ivy supports over 50 different species of wildlife if you allow it to grow to flowering maturity (reached when the leaves change from the shape everyone is familiar with to a less indented leaf shape).
Ivy can get a bit unruly but is easy to keep in shape (do not cut between March and August to protect any nesting birds). It gets a bit of bad press due to been referred to as ‘poison ivy’ but the truth is that it could make you sick if you eat it but won’t kill you. The important thing is to teach children not to eat any plant unless an adult who knows what they are doing is there is check it is safe to eat. If you want to improve your garden for wildlife, why not consider ivy?