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Worms pull down dead organic matter from the surface to eat. If there is none, they will move on or die. Simples.
Sweet peppers, aubergines, chillies, basil, some of the more tender varieties of courgette. Someone once asked me what I grow in my greenhouse and my reply was "ratatouille"!
Oil Beetle I think Lyn.
Some of them are now very rare and several thought to be extinct in the UK, so worth getting it properly identified - try here:
Mulching with lots of home-made compost and well-rotted farmyard manure will encourage them back in as natural a way as possible.
Good idea Clahay - I love the contrast of yellow with blue - If it doesn't come back well I'd probably replace it with a ceanothus myself.
They are just aerial roots which the ivy uses to cling on to things, so nothing at all to worry about.
I agree with nut and will just add that lichen is harmless and just shows that those twigs are very old and that you have good air quality. It's a relatively short lived shrub so the poor growth may indicate that is is nearing the end of it's life.
If they are outdoors, possibly hail damage - there have been a few threads about that recently.
Pure guess - do you have any Red Valerian in your garden?
It's the roots which stink on that one, not the leaves or flowers. Can't stand it myself.
Once the seed heads open you can just sprinkle them over the area - the seedings are quite distinctive so you will easily spot them (in fact there is one near the bottom of the photo.)