JOHN’S JOURNAL

How to Create The Perfect Hedge

Hedges are a perfect way of creating a natural edge to a garden, they can also help divide a space into ‘rooms’ and they can also be used in a very formal way to edge flower beds and create Knot Gardens. 

A hedge is basically a line of shrubs all planted together and as they grow they get trimmed to retain their shape and form. Hedges are also a great way of attracting wildlife into the garden, giving them somewhere to nestle and live for the winter months sheltered from the elements and adverse weather. 

The first thing to think about with your hedge after you have decided where to grow it is how tall would you like it to get? Do you also want evergreen or are you happy with deciduous? Some deciduous hedges like Beech and Hornbeam also hold their old leaves on through the winter in a lovely rusty brown colour. The height of your hedge can be controlled by trimming twice per year so don’t get confused by the natural height of the plant 

When it comes to planting make sure you have 30-40cm of soil and if you can dig it all over nicely and mix in some rotted organic matter, this helps make the surrounding soil nice and hospitable for the roots to quickly develop leading to nice growth above ground also. 

When it comes to spacing for a small formal hedge either out of Box or Japanese Holly your looking at 4-6 plants per metre depending on how established they are when you plant. For a normal evergreen hedge using Laurel or Portuguese Laurel it’s 2-3 per metre and then for a mixed or deciduous hedge it’s 3-5 per metre and you can also plant these in a staggered row to give you a wider hedge, in a natural hedge you can then add in rambling climbers to use it as a climbing frame giving you flowers and fragrance, Lonicera is the perfect counterpart as the hedge then covers up its straggly lower stems.

A mixed hedge is a great natural way to edge a garden leading on into the countryside and can give you lots of interest when including plants like Holly, Dog Rose and other native plants, it will grow more irregularly but this can work very well when trying to soften or create a boundary, now is also a perfect time to plant allowing the hedge to settle in before it grows away in the Spring

Anyway at the nursery we have a wide range of hedging plants available and our Winter Sale is also now on, so with a New Year upon us and the gardening season just around the corner it’s the perfect time to get the gardening grey matter ticking! 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems?

 

How often do I trim a hedge?

You normally give it a trim in May once the new growth has appeared and then again in the Autumn. Leave it over the Summer months and don’t trim your hedge during very hot and dry weather and also make sure to trim it before the hard frosts in the Autumn. If you haven’t trimmed it yet you can give it a trim in February so not to waste energy on growth in the wrong place.

 

What should I feed my hedge with?

A small formal hedge out of Box or Japanese Holly wants feeding with Topiary feed which is high in nitrogen keeping it green; then for larger evergreen hedges you can use Chicken pellets for green growth and also some bone meal for root establishment, then for a native hedge use Vitax Q4 as you want to encourage flowering and berrying for many of the plants 

 

What hedge is good for exposed sites?

Native hedges will be absolutely fine, avoid large leaved Laurel as the leaves will get wind burn but Portugeuse Laurel is also fine. Small formal hedges out of Box and Japanese Holly also don’t mind exposure so there’s lots of options 

Jobs for the weekend

DIG OVER EMPTY FLOWERBEDS

Pick a dry day and burn off a few calories in the process, remove rocks and roots and the frost will help break down the clay

 

RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE

Either cut it up into pieces for composting, shred it, or research and drop it off at local river trusts for helping reinforce eroded bankings 

 

FEED THE BIRDS 

Make sure to keep bird tables and feeders topped up for our feathered friends, also keep bird baths topped up

 

CLEAN THE GREENHOUSE

If you haven’t done so already it’s a good chance to find all those things you’ve lost and also get it nice and tidy ready for Spring

PLANT OF THE WEEK

PORTUGUESE LAUREL

It’s my number one hedging choice for an evergreen hedge as it has a much darker leaf than Laurel and is great for a hedge from 3ft up to 10ft. Small white flowers and blushed pink stems, it’s very attractive and easy to grow