to surround, enclose, encircle, border, edge , keep within bounds, confine, obstruct… Once upon a time hedges were not what we planted, but rather what was left around the edges when the land had been cleared for cultivation. Native trees and shrubs were left in a diverse mix of species as a border to define a particular boundary providing much shelter and habitat for wildlife.
The trees left standing, shielded buildings, soil and livestock from the weather, providing shade and windbreak. The first hedges date back to Neolithic times, once protecting cultivated land over 5000 years ago. Today Taxus, or Yew hedging is one of the most common choices for a formal, clipped screen. As well as creating privacy, hedging contributes to seasonal colour and beauty in the landscape.
It filters noise from neighbouring properties and traffic. Hedges have become more important in our urban environment than our rural landscape. Fast growing Privet is another popular choice for classic screening. Early summer blooms and glossy evergreen leaves are appropriate as border or topiary specimens.
Aucuba and Euonymus , also great evergreen choices and more drought tolerant once established than a lot of more traditional hedging. Both also suitable for more shady screening challenges.
As an alternative to the more classic Taxus, these versatile shrubs can be pruned to any size and shape. The elegant variegated foliage provide coverage and colour year round.
Use blooms instead of fences for defining your space. Often berries follow, this contributes to longer periods of interest and colour. Why not create a hedge that also grows food? Why spend time and money clipping when you can snack on the fruits of your labour. Columnar apple trees are a fabulous way to maximize growing space and create a mini hedgerow.
Grow a pollinator’s garden.
The spring flowers are beautiful, the fruit delicious.
Or, fill in some gaps with the summer blooming Clethra. Hummingbird bush, as it is sometimes called, although appreciated equally by the butterflies and bees too.
Plant strong, native shrubs like Physocarpus for great colour that transforms through various shades with the season. Hedges enhance our urban habitat continuity. By planning wildlife corridors for birds bees and other insects we design ecological gardens that enrich our residential environments.