The ivy (Hedera) comes in lots of varieties, large and small in an assortment of leaf shapes, glossy green or variegated. When carefully managed it can be a beautiful addition to your garden, providing a superb ornamental plant to climb up your trees, fences, garden walls, or even your house walls.
On the plus side, ivy is an evergreen, hardy and happy in shade, a climbing or ground-creeping woody plant that can climb to at least 30 metres, which is good if you want a screen, or to green-up a dying tree. It also makes good ground cover and looks wonderful as an accompaniment to geraniums, tumbling out of a hanging basket. It is also good for flower arranging, and is a great traditional foliage plant for Christmas.
However, if you have it climbing up any man-made structure you should be prepared to prune it bi-annually to prevent it getting out of control.
Hedera are not the poison ivy, which is Toxicondendron radicans.