Some wall-climbing shrubs can be pruned at this time of year. One such is the Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, whose thrilling autumn glory has by now peeled away to reveal its inevitable tendency to climb into spaces where it’s unwelcome, such as windows, gutters, roofs and lofts. It attaches itself to wall surfaces by ingenious sucker pads, so a firm but well-directed hand is required to cut the shoots back to a yard away from the exclusion zone. Brush away cobwebs and debris, and prepare to do this each year. The result will be lovely and your conscience will be clear.

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