#30DaysWild 17 Tending Our Living Wall

Ian has been tending our ‘green living wall’ – the ivy cladding the outside of Otter Cottage. Every so often we have to keep it out of the eaves and away from the barge boards, requiring long ladders and makeshift PPE.

Ian doesn’t really like wearing the bike helmet. He says nothing is going to fall on his head from the sky, but the point is to protect his head from the ground should he fall.

The ivy has really spread around the cottage in the 14 years we’ve been here. But we don’t take it off as its home to so much wildlife. It buzzes with insects, hosts numerous roosting sparrows and the occasional holly blue butterfly. Last year we had a tree creeper nesting up under the barge board. And when the ivy flowers late in the year it provides food for overwintering bees when most flowers are gone.

Ivy also keeps the heat in apparently, warming up walls by up to 15% in cold weather and shielding them from some of the worst of the weather when it rains (but of course, it never never rains in Devon….).

Does it damage buildings? Usually not if they are sound, but it does like to creep into any crevices and cracks, so although we let it be on the stone buildings like Otter Cottage and the outside of the turbine room, we have to keep it off the wooden eco lodges, or it would pull the cladding off the outside.

Previously for #30DaysWild

This time last year: We’d found a bush cricket that needed rescuing from the Hot Tub at Balebarn Lodge

This time in 2018: A wildlife camera caught glimpses of badgers in the early morning, and guests at Honeysuckle Lodge had been seeing badgers by the widlife pond.

This time in 2017: We were using immature teasels as cut flowers. They really are quite striking.