Planting a mixed hedge

hedgehidden2I was walking back from my neighbour’s house along his rutted track and looked towards my potting shed. This lies on the boundary between our two farms. And as I looked, I realized that it is almost entirely hidden by the hedge.

My work is done.

It has grown almost high enough to entirely cover the eyesore that was my long potting shed and bright polycarbonate roof.

And the virginia creeper which I am assiduously growing over the top of the polycarbonate is advancing merrily across to the other side.


And if you want a bit of context: here is what the poor neighbour was confronted with when the shed went up.

top part hedge

Yep. An eyesore.

Especially as I finished it early spring when there wasn’t the usual lush growth to hide all sins.

Poor man. He must have wondered just what monster of tasteless construction had moved in next door.

20 top side of hedge

So a fast hedge went in back in 2011. Mixed of course: eleagnus x ebbingei, cotoneaster lacteus, prunus lusitanica, carpinus betulus, cornus alba, viburnum tinus, ligustrum japonicum, viburnum rhytidophyllum, rosa rugosa, sambuscus nigra, acer campestre and acer ginnala. Oh and photinia red robin, how could I have forgotten them?


I can’t stand the look of that green concrete you see in so many gardens. One giant wall of privet. Or yew. Or Thuya or anything that looks too groomed.

This is a country garden and although having such a dense hedge (unless it is wild box) is unnatural in this rural setting, at least my hedge is a busy riot of mixed planting.


The photinia is way too happy.  It makes me realize that I don’t really love the red growth in spring.

And the mighty hornbeams at the bottom of the steep slope are reaching 20 feet tall. So that’s a result.

The contoneaster is long and lanky and has giant branches reaching everywhere but in the hedge. And the rosa rugosa does well every third year or so. But mostly dies limb by limb.


We have had a fantastic damp month so things are looking very happy.  If I had to choose my star plant it would be the acer ginala.  Or is it the campestre? Great autumn colour, a good upright plant. And it fights its space well.

Next week I’m even going to be brave and give the hedge its first ever prune. Too much is thrusting into the garden beds on the other side (the terrace bank).

And I want to show you the amazing progress on my two huge hornbeam hedges.

IMG_6940But right now I’m going to end this here and go and do a few good deeds.

I’ve ducked home to London for five days (to garden!) and experience the dreadful news of the Manchester bombing.  I’m having a jam delivery day. François and Wendy are the recipients. Small acts of kindness may not seem a suitable riposte to murderers of young children.  But you have to try.

It’s strawberry and rose petal jam. All from the potager.