It might sound like a folk-pop band from the late 50’s but Harry & the Hedges is simply the title of this week’s email. That said, there might well be a melodic charm to your hedging should you choose plants that attract a chorus of birds. Silence can be nice too though.
This week’s email was inspired by a question Harry was asked:
If any nation can lay claim to being the best at hedges, it might well be the British. They’ve been using them to define spaces since Dick Turpin roamed the hedge lined backroads of Georgian England.
English Knot Garden with Buxus – Trotts, Ashburton
One hedge that certainly both ‘stands and delivers’ is the BUXUS sempervirens – English Box Hedge. With its small, glossy leaves of a deep green, the English Box Hedge grows slowly but orderly, with a compact appearance. This marks it as a near perfect plant for low formal hedges or as part of a topiary display. The lush green colour is retained all year by this hardy evergreen that’s available in both a bush and spherical form.
Laurel Hedge – Millbrook property
Something a little more exotic, to rival the British claim to hedging fame, is the PRUNUS lusitanica – Portuguese Laurel. The dark, deep green of the leaves are finished in a magnificent high gloss that glistens in sunlight, adding depth and texture to the aesthetics. Then in late spring, racames of gentle white flowers appear, attracting birdlife and adding the fragrance of summer. With its dense, bushy habit, the Portuguese Laurel makes for a perfect formal hedge or screen.
It’s a hardy evergreen that can be expected to grow up to 5 x 3 metres.
Despite being sometimes known as the Russian Olive, ELAEAGNUS ebbingei – Paper Bush is actually from Japan. The strong silvery-green leaves are seemingly impervious to cold weather. Known for the shimmering effect from the speckling of silver, the leaves are full and plentiful, making for a well-clipped hedge that retains its density all year round. Tolerant to the most cold and wind-hardy, the bolt upright Paper Bush is a fast growing evergreen which will reach a size of 3 x 2 metres.
Silver Laurel hedge in Cromwell
Lastly, we can out our own claim to hedging fame out there, with GRISELINIA littoralis ‘Broadway’ – Native Broadleaf/Kapuka. Those strikingly green leaves are dense and glossy, making them very well suited for hedging or screening. With careful clipping into a small, formal hedge, they can be used to add structure and direction to a landscape or garden. It won’t matter where your garden is either. This is an incredibly hardy plant which can handle everything from the coast to an inland frost.