Holly and ivy are beneficial to wildlife as well as to the smallholder. These are our favourite varieties.

Common holly (Ilex aquifolium)

This evergreen tree and shrub, known also as English holly, has dark glossy leaves that become studded with small white flowers in spring that lead to bright red berries through autumn and winter. It grows in full or partial sun in well-drained soil to a height of 10metres or more.

Holly Golden King (Ilex altaclerensis)

An evergreen specimen with almost spine-free leaves that are green and gold. Small white flowers in spring are followed by bright red berries, assured as this variety is a self-fertile female. It keeps its variegation even in shade and is especially striking in containers.

Hedera Helix Goldheart

This climber grows fast and its bright golden and green leaves brighten the darkest corners and attractively cover the plainest of fences. It prefers moist alkaline soil in full or partial sun and has an 8m spread. Each autumn sees shiny black fruit.

Hedera Hibernica

Also known as the Atlantic Ivy, it is easy to grow and, among its broad green leaves are aerial roots to self-cling. Summer’s small yellow flowers lead to black berries in the autumn. It can grow up to 10m, even in shade.

Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Veitchii'

Well known as Boston Ivy, this popular ivy gives a stunning autumnal display of purples and reds, especially if planted in part shade. It can grow taller than 15m so stems benefit from being trained onto strong wires along fences and walls.