Hedges can perform many functions in the garden. Hedges can be used to divide up the plot. Hedges can be used as ornamental features. Hedges can be used as a deterrent. Hedges usually last longer than fences.
It is also important to realise that hedges are environmentally friendly, and they provide a habitat for many species of insects - and animals. (Most of them, beneficial for the garden!)
The low hedge is of Symphoricarpos, with a Hornbeam screen hedge behind and to the right - a well maintained Cuppressus leylandii screen..
Ilex - Holly. The green, gold or silver forms of this shrub make superb hedges with a low maintenance aspect. - Simply clip it once a year for a formal hedge, or let it grow if you want a good screen or windbreak.
Hornbeam - Carpinus. This is good in most soils - whereas Beech is not too happy in acid soils. Like the Beech hedging, Hornbeam will keep its dead foliage throughout most of the winter. The secret to having your beech or hornbeam hedge clothed in the winter is by making your last (of 2 or 3) hedge trim in mid august.
Spotted Laurel - Aucuba. Makes a good evergreen medium sized hedge. Best in an informal situation, and pruned rather than clipped.
Berberis darwinii makes a good formal or informal hedge - full of flowers in the early summer. Easily maintained with a single clipping each year - just after flowering
Buxus sempervirens Elegatissima. Often used as a small formal hedge, the box plant shrubs can also be allowed to grow to 1 metre plus. Responds well to regular clipping, or can be left to grow as an informal hedge. Evergreen of course.
Buxus (Box) hedges for dwarf hedges. As above, but now trained into a dwarf border hedge.
Lavender - Lavandula stoechas. Good for a small informal hedge. Does not take to kindly to clipping too often. Simply trim back the dead flowers - just into the stem growth each year.
Lavender - Lavandula Hidcote. As above, but makes a rather tidier hedge than the French Butterfly Lavender.
Lonicera Baggesons Gold. The green form is rather dirty looking hedge, but the Baggesons Gold is superb - and nice and bright if left to grow, rather than being clipped regularly. Once a year should be plenty, unless you want straight lines!
Forsythia. Needs to be clipped just after flowering, or in mid summer once established. This will ensure flowering on the older spur growths below the young pruned growths.
Grisselinia. This rarely grown evergreen is a great hedge for seaside and inland alike. Best if it can be allowed to grow into an informal hedge, but also good when clipped two times a year.
Hebe varieties. Best as informal hedges if you want the best flowers, but will also respond to clipping - at the expense of flower.
Winter Jasmine - Jasminum nudiflorum. Sometimes grown as a formal hedge, but best as an informal hedge - pruned back after flowering then left to form arching growths which will reward you in late winter.
Pyracantha (Firethorn). Impenetrable hedge and good for anti-vandalism or repelling intruders. Should be clipped back after flowering - the new growths only. Then you will have a berrying hedge through autumn and winter. The flowers make a good show, and of course it is one of the best evergreen hedges.
Pyracantha in this instance grown as an informal hedge. Certainly keeps unwanted visitors out - and makes for a good haven for wildlife.!
Photinia Red Robin is brilliant as a hedging plant. Clipping a couple of times a year will ensure that your hedge is full of the bright red new foliage.
Viburnum Eve Price or any of the other Viburnum tinus types make for a good formal or informal hedge. best left a bit lax if you want maximum flower through late winter early spring. Just clip back in April each year.
Laurel - Prunus rotundifolia. One of the great formal hedges - as is Yew. Choose your variety for dark or light green foliage. P. rotundifolia being the brightest green. Quite quick growing after establishing. Buy plant no bigger than 3ft and preferably pot grown rather than root-balled or bare root for the quickest rate of re-establishment. Will be happy at 1.5 metres or 5 metres - your choice!
We have not forgotten C. Leylandii as a hedging plant. Just be careful of the possible inconvenience you could cause to others when you plant this as a hedge. That having been said - properly looked after - this makes a brilliant medium to large hedge. It simply needs a degree of responsibility from the owner - not always forthcoming.
By David Hughes - email@example.com