Hedging projects – part 1.

Words associated with plants have to be some of the most beautiful in usage.  There’s an undoubted romance and yesteryear quality to many of them, conjuring forth sepia filled dreams and visions of luxurious afternoons full of laughter and dappled light.

Then there’s ‘hedge’.  We know – this definitely does not appear to be one of those beautiful words.  Yet it is.

Carpinus betulus hedge, Arrowtown, November

It’s beautiful because of its use, which pretty much describes the use of hedging.  For example, you can ‘hedge your bets’, meaning when you invest in a hedge there is little chance of losing out on anything.  Hedges will always pay you back by providing privacy and structure.  Ok, so it doesn’t really mean that but it’s close enough.

We use ‘hedges’ in writing to soften what we say or write (i.e. ‘kind of’, ‘sort of’).  So ‘hedges’ beautify our words, as they beautify our gardens.  Again, we might be taking a small poetic licence with our interpretation.  That’s ok though, we’re just ‘hedging’ our words.

And should you not believe ‘hedge’ to be a beautiful word, we’d point to two examples that might sit aside the dictionary description.  And these hedges surely are quite beautiful…

GRISELINIA littoralis ‘Broadway’ – Native Broadleaf/Kapuka

Griselinia hedge, Queenstown, September

Griselinia – Broadleaf hedging near the entrance of Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown

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.

See how they were used to create beauty at Matakauri Lodge. First photo as pool/privacy screening and second photo around paths at the lodge.

Griselinia, Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge, February
Nothofagus Sophora, Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge, September

View the Matakauri Lodge project for further inspiration. Click on the image below:

CARPINUS betulus – English Hornbeam

Carpinus betulus maze, Arrowtown, The Hills, January

Aerial view of the hedge maze of Carpinus – Hornbeam at The Hills, Arrowtown

The oval leaves with serrated edges provide a hint of toughness of the hornbeam. And whilst the leaves turn to a classic copper and golden colour in Autumn, most will remain in place for year-round leaf cover. Amenable to clipping, the Hornbeam can be used as hedging or is often used to dramatic effect in a pleached avenue. The deciduous hornbeam will grow up to 8m.

See below how they were used to create beauty at The Hills. Carpinus Hornbeam used as a border for paths and to break up different garden areas in the landscape, creating ‘rooms’ as such.

Carpinus betulus, Arrowtown, The Hills, November
Carpinus betulus, Arrowtown, The Hills, November