Choosing a hedge for your garden

By Paul Hervey-Brookes

It may be winter but it's a good and traditional time to think about adding barefoot hedges into the garden. Hedges evoke mixed feelings. They provide privacy, a boundary or a statement in the garden defining space. To most people they are privet that requires regular trimming but hedges can be much more than that.

To brighten up an ordinary privet hedge plant Clematis 'Polish Spirit' or honeysuckle as both of these will clamber up through the branches and provide both fragrance and an abundance of flowers during the seasons.

Boundary hedges, whilst acting as a deterrent and giving privacy, can be interesting and good for wildlife.
Paul Hervey-Brookes

Holly makes an ideal hedge as the prickly leaves encourage birds to nest in safety from most predators, the bright red berries on the female holly will add colour during the winter and a valuable food source and in the summer months provides nectar and pollen for insects including the little holly blue butterfly. Holly is the ultimate in bird friendly hedging and can be grown as a mixed hedge with laurel, hornbeam, blackthorn and hawthorn as these compliment each other.

A statement hedge in the garden provides nothing other than something striking to look at. It can be topiary carved into faces, shapes or even waves and it can be a bold slice of colour. A deep luxuriant yew hedge backing a terrace of rich paving can be a real wow statement and  create a foil for summer containers and laid back entertaining.

A quince hedge can make a bold and beautiful statement in winter. Bright red flowers and small yellow fruit on mahogany coloured branches can be cut and used as decoration indoors too.

Low hedge can create definition in a garden dividing it to create a sense of 'here and there' ultimately making the garden feel twice the size! And how many of us have been seduced by a gravel or paved path disappearing between a hedge making us long to find out what comes next in the garden.

Meet the author

Paul Hervey-Brookes

Paul had his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks & Spencers.

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