Book Review – Hedera The Complete Guide

Hedera The Complete Guide
by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall
Published by the Royal Horticultural Society
ISBN: 978-1-90705-773-1

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Could there be a more wonderful Christmas gift than a book about ivy?

Ivy is such a valuable garden plant, evergreen, hardy, and native to the UK, whatever your garden’s style, ivy can enhance it.  Hedera The Complete Guide, really is just that, a complete and wonderful guide to this fascinating plant genus.  I loved reading this new, and special book, which I admired from start to finish.

Whist reading Hedera The Complete Guide, I realised how interesting this book would be to every kind of gardener, even the most occasional of gardeners!  Ivy is self clinging and self supportive, it requires little attention and bestows its charm on every garden it decorates, providing food and shelter for wildlife, and producing simply beautiful evergreen leaves in a variety of shapes and colours.  Ivy appeals to almost every gardener, this climber suits every setting, from the humblest window box, to a simple row of iron railings, or a patio garden, to wildlife gardens, or modern gardens, to very grand formal gardens.  Complementing both city and country gardens, and everything in between.

I love to encourage the growing of ivy.  Ivy, or Hedera, as is the plant’s botanical name, is a beautiful, versatile genus of climbing plants that can be accommodated in even the smallest of gardens.  Ivies are such easily grown plants, they’re tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, from pollution, shade, and neglect, to bright conditions in sunnier gardens, where they can also thrive in full sunshine.  So this book with full information about this genus would be a super gift for every type of gardener, whatever their garden size, style, or conditions.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Hedera The Complete Guide is a complete monograph of Hedera.  This book features detailed information about every known species of ivy.  The text is accompanied and enhanced by the most beautiful photography of ivy species and cultivars.  If you’re wondering what type of ivy to include in your garden, where to plant it, or how you might use ivy in your garden, this book will help you.

Readers will discover how ivy came into favour and how the different ivy species were found and catalogued; learning of particular gardeners, nursery owners and horticulturalists who have held a passion for ivy, as well as hearing some of the findings in the most recent and up to date studies of ivy, to understand the current thinking of this genus.

Hedera The Complete Guide is much more than an ivy catalogue, it’s full of all kinds of interesting details about ivy and its connection to people, to wildlife, to our environment and the landscape, as well as ivy’s representation by designers and craftspeople of every kind.  Readers will discover a great deal of fascinating information this beguiling plant genus throughout this brilliant book.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

American ivy enthusiasts can benefit from joining The American Ivy Society, while ivy connoisseurs based in Germany have the good fortune to be able to sign up to The German Ivy Society.  I am sure that British ivy admirers, and indeed any ivy devotees without an Ivy Society that they can join, will snap up Hedera The Complete Guide.  Having said this, I am certain that this book will be a compulsory purchase for any Ivy Society member – there simply is no other comparable book available to provide this information on Ivy, making Hedera The Complete Guide a must have book!

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Inside Hedera The Complete Guide, you’ll find advice about how to get the best from your ivy plants, how to manage, prune, display, and propagate ivy, with information on every aspect of care of Hedera species and cultivars.  There’s information on the pests and diseases that affect ivies, alongside all kinds of information about how to best grow and display ivy.

Readers will discover incredibly interesting information about the benefits that ivies bestow on the buildings they clothe, in terms of insulation and the plant’s cooling abilities, as well as details of how ivies could improve the air quality in urban areas, reduce noise and improve our physical and mental wellbeing.  There are evaluations as to when ivy can be invasive, and in particular which species of ivy have a tendency to be invasive in different settings.  The problems associated with growing ivy to cover buildings are also explored.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Ivy provides a beautiful screen or backdrop, as well as a home for all manner of wildlife, from insects, birds, and other creatures.  Ivy’s late flowers are a valuable source of nectar for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.  If you’re looking for an easy to grow hedge, yet only have a narrow area to accommodate your hedge, why not plant ivy?  Hedera The Complete Guide will provide you with plenty of inspiration of which ivy species or cultivar to plant.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Hedera The Complete Guide details humans’ association with ivy, from a medical, spiritual and decorative perspective, describing how the genus become popular, and how different opinions, folk laws, and customs were formed around using ivy.

Hedera The Complete Guide contains much information about ivy as a decorative and inspirational form, showcasing some of the interior designs, ceramics, and works, created by artists and designers that have taken their inspiration from ivy.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Hedera The Complete Guide provides information on the ivy family tree, the distribution of the genus around the world and its use in a variety of settings, as well as the longevity of the genus, and of particularly notable specimen plants.  The authors’ comment on the impact of growing ivy on the soil and on nearby and competing plants.  Plants associated with ivy are detailed, such as ivy broomrape Orobanche hederae, as well as those of related plant genera.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Hedera The Complete Guide provides clear information on how to best identify ivies, which is not a simple task!  The information is concisely and clearly provided in the simplest of terms and will be useful for all readers.  The reader will also benefit from the authors’ guidance in how best to collect specimens for identification purposes, as well as for propagation.

Information on 12 ivy species is provided inside Hedera The Complete Guide, with details of how to recognise each particular species, and information on which particular parts of the plant to concentrate and focus on when attempting identification.  Readers will benefit from the use of a very helpful identification key for ivy species, hybrids and cultivars, complete with helpful pointers on which distinguishing features to look out for on any plant material that has been collected, which will help readers to have confidence in their identification, and to clearly and accurately define the ivies they find.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

The ivy cultivars are most comprehensively laid out in Hedera The Complete Guide.  Miniature ivies have their own section, as do cultivars of each ivy species, and variegated types.  Readers will also benefit from being able to quickly pursue information of ivies with heart-shaped leaves, fan, or curly forms, making this an easily used, accessible reference book.  Hedera The Complete Guide is a super aid to use for planning the use of ivies your garden, even if it’s a spur of the moment decision.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

The glossary inside Hedera The Complete Guide will help any readers who have not grown ivy before to fully understand the text.  The references provided at the back of the book are both extensive and useful.  While the checklist of cultivar names complete with descriptions, will further aid readers wishing to learn more of the many ivies available, as well as further assisting identification and helping readers who are looking to select their most favoured ivies for inclusion in their own gardens.

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

I admire and appreciate the quality of the material that has been thoughtfully accumulated and presented to create Hedera The Complete Guide.  This book features beautiful photographs and simply fascinating information.  Although these are the most important factors of this book, the finer points and attention to detail that have been applied – from the tonal quality of the title’s text, which often mirrors a particular tone of the image on the opposite page, to the thoughtful presentation throughout the book, these all combine to enhance the reader’s experience.

I don’t think you’ll find such a fascinating or timely gift as Hedera The Complete Guide this Christmas.  This is simply a marvellous book!

Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, is published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

For more information about Hedera The Complete Guide, please click here.

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