Author: Matthew Kemble

Time for New Growth

While we have all been restricted in what we are able to do at the moment, April has started off as a very pleasant month on the nursery.  The warmth during the day has accelerated the new growth on the plants and what was only 3 weeks ago a brown twig is now showing a good covering of beautiful fresh green leaves.  This is nowhere more apparent than on the Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) instant hedging which is always one of the first hedge plants to put leaf on with us.  The fresh tender green leaves go from the bottom of the plant to the top until it is covered in this fresh young leaf.  The troughs are always the first to put there new growth out closely followed by the hedgebags.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) new growth
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) troughs
https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/hawthorn-crataegus-monogyna/

Over the last few weeks there has also been a smattering of grey brown leaves blowing around the nursery as the Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) have been shedding the leaves that they have held on to over the winter.  The reason for this is now apparent as we are starting to see the lovely fresh new leaves and new growth emerging on them.  they are always a couple of weeks behind the Hawthorn but you can forgive them as the pale green leaves really show that spring has arrived and that we will soon have beautiful young hedges ready to go for planting.

Hornbeam (carpinus betulus) new growth
Hornbeam (carpinus betulus) troughs
https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/carpinus-betulus/

With all the new growth coming on the deciduous hedges it is easy to get carried away and forget the evergreens that have been providing us with structure and colour over the winter.  One that has not stopped trying to compete with this flush of fresh growth is the Viburnum tinus.  The flower buds that all winter have been showing just a hint of colour and promise have all burst open and the dark green foliage is almost covered in glorious clusters of white flowers.  While there is no or very little fragrance to these flowers, they are a great source of early nectar for bees and other insects that come out early in the year.

Viburnum tinus new growth
Viburnum tinus Flowers
https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/viburnum-tinus-evergreen-hedging/

Another very striking hedge which is much more commonly grown is Photinia Red Robin.  This is a very much a love it or loath it hedge, but whatever your view there is no denying that the first flush of new growth in the spring is a very welcome blast of vivid red colour.  This year it seems to be particularly vivid and vibrant.  The best bit of this hedge is that when you trim it, it will give you another flush of red growth afterwards so the display goes on for a reasonable length of time over the year.

Photinia Red Robin New Growth
Photinia Red Robin New Growth
https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/photinia-red-robin/
Viburnum tinus

An Early Spring?

It is looking like an early spring here at Hedgeplants.com. While a lot of people will deny that global warming is happening and an equal number will say that it is, all that we will say is that we have again had a mild winter.  We have had the occasional frost but nothing worse than minus 4 centigrade on the nursery.  The amount of rain we have had is a lot more than in previous years and our local river has been in flood more this year than for the last few years.

As you walk out on to the Hedgeplants.com nursery it seems that nature has decided that winter is over and that early spring has arrived.  The local birds are already fighting for territory and the early flowering plants are already coming in to leaf and flower.  This is most apparent on the Mixed Native Hedging where the Sloe and Cherry Plum in mix 2 are in flower and the Hazel in Mix 1 has lovely catkins on it.

Mixed Hedge 1
The Catkin of Hazel (Corylus avellana) https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/mixed-native-hedging-instant-hedge/

As we look further round there is the start of a green haze on the straight Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) troughs as the lower buds are starting to break and nice fresh new leaves are appearing. 

Fresh new Growth on the Hawthorn https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/crataegus-monogyna/

Even the evergreen hedges which normally show signs of starting to come into leaf after the deciduous plants have got the start of new growth coming and this is most apparent on the brilliant Photinia Red Robin with its striking bright red new growth.

Photinia Red Robin https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/photinia-red-robin/

The most exciting thing we can see on the nursery at the moment and a very good sign that Spring is imminent is that the Ornamental Pears (Pyrus Chanticleer) screening panels are nearly fully out in leaf and when their lovely creamy flowers are out, we know that spring is really here.

Ornamental Pear (Pyrus cal. Chanticleer) https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/ornamental-pear-pyrus-cal-chanticleer/

For all these lovely signs of an early spring at Hedgeplants.com we still have to remember that we are only in the middle of February and that around the nursery everyone realises that until the Cheltenham Gold Cup horse race has happened we are not fully safe from the worst that winter can throw at us.

Phitinia Red Robin

New Year and a New Hedge

Now that the festive season is over and all the seasonal decorations have been cleared away, it is time for a New year and a new hedge. Now is a good time to turn your thoughts towards the outside areas and making any improvements needed now so that in the summer you can enjoy the space.  If you have had lighting in the garden for the last few weeks it might be looking a bit dull now but with a bit of planning a nice new hedge will help to lift the garden and give it a nice fresh feel.

At this time of the year it is the evergreen hedges that really stand out giving colour and screening even now.  Evergreen hedging is sometimes thought of as a monotone green and all the same but there are superb varieties of plants that will give a great range of foliage colour.

The sales team here at Hedgeplants.com are very excited by the following hedges as they add variety and colour to a garden.

Photinia Red Robin.  This is a real “love it or hate it” plant with many people thing that this is a very gaudy hedge, but the same number of people think that it is an amazing plant.  We love it for the deep red new growth that comes in the spring and after it has been trimmed.  As well as the quick growth and the habitat it creates for wildlife.  It also makes a good hedge for sound suppression and it can also help in trapping atmospheric pollution.

Photinia new hedge
Photinia Red Robin Instant Hedge

Portugal Laurel (Prunus lus. Angustifolia) this is a small-leaved dark green foliaged shrub that clips up into a superb hedge.  If kept regularly trimmed it makes a superb formal hedge but if you want a bit more of a relaxed hedge trimming it less often will produce an excellent but relaxed hedge.  We love it for the dark green foliage, the red stems and the white candle like flowers which make a great contrast.

Portugal Laurel New Hedge
Portugla Laurel (Prunus lus. Angustifolia)

Griselinia littoralis (Broadleaf), this is best suited for coastal areas and inner city areas.  This New Zealand native has an amazing pale green foliage which is unique.  Best planted in areas that will not get a very severe frost and has a good free draining soil.  When trimmed regularly it forms a very dense hedge.  We love it for the unique foliage colour and look.

Griselinia new hedge
Griselinia littoralis trough

Elaeagnus eb. Compacta, this is a more compact and bushy form of Elaeagnus ebbingii.  It has a lovely silvery foliage but when it is wet, they look more of a bluey green colour.  In the late summer/ Autumn there is small pale creamy coloured flowers hidden on the main stems of the plant which emit a very strong and sweet scent. We love this plant for the silvery foliage and the beautiful scent in the late summer.

Elaeagnus Compacta new hedge
Elaeagnus eb. Compacta

With these amazing evergreen hedges there is no reason not to have a good New Year and a New Hedge

New varieties

New Varieties Coming to Hedgeplants.com

It is a busy time here at Hedgeplants.com as we are now in the main part of the hedging season and all our tried and tested hedges are being delivered all over the country.  What is more exciting is that we have new varieties coming available over the next month or so.  All of these new varieties are currently being grown in small quantities but over the next few years we will be increasing the quantities we grow.

Ligustrum jap. Texanum a true evergreen privet and a great addition to the evergreen range.  Waxy undulating leaves give this plant a really unique look and help to offset the clusters of white flowers perfectly.

New Varieties Ligustrum
Ligustrum jap. Texanum

Next up is the evergreen Sacred Bamboo (Nandina dom. ‘Obsessed’). This does not look like the normal bamboo having compound leaves.  The new leaves are a superb dark red when they first come out and then fade down to a mid green.  We have found that with regular trimming this very ornamental plant can form a great low and dense hedge.

Nandina dom. Obsessed
Nandina dom. Obsessed

Phillyrea angustifolia is a close relative of Osmanthus burkwoodii which makes a superb hedge and has elongated evergreen leaves and will form a hedge about 100-150cm tall with a good density.  It is an excellent plant for a coastal area.  It can have creamy white fragrant flowers in May and June but regular trimming will reduce the number of flowers.

Phillyrea angustifolia rhb
Phillyrea angustifolia

Pittosporum ten. Golf Ball another evergreen but with smaller Box like leaves.  If left to grow naturally it will form a loose ball, but with regular trimming it makes a very good low hedge that is a very good replacement for Box although it might be better suited for slightly milder and more protected areas of the country.  It has very smaller chocolate brown flowers that are tucked away in the foliage.

Pittosporum ten. Golf Ball
Pittosporum Golf Ball

Looking forward to Autumn

New Season Hedges

With the slightly cooler weather this summer and some much need rain.  It has brought our hedging on nicely this year.  Last year was so hot the plants did not grow much but this year they have put on some brilliant growth and a lot of them are going to be ready for a new home earlier than they have ever been before.

Looking forward to the new seasons hedging, this year we have changed some of the mixes on our Mixed native hedge troughs.  Mix 4 is now including Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) and mix 5 has lost the spindle and replaced it with Hornbeam to give a mixed hedge that has a mixture of evergreen and leaf retaining plants in it to give more privacy through the winter while retaining the diversity.

Mixed Native Hedging
Mixed Native Hedging https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/mixed-native-hedging-instant-hedge/

As usual our Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) troughs have grown really well and are looking very dense even for a 1 year old trough.  These will give a great start to a hedge and even at this young age will give great structure to a garden.

Carpinus betulus 1yr Trough
Carpinus betulus https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/carpinus-betulus/

If you are looking for an evergreen option we have a range of options form the ever popular Portugal Laurel (Prunus lus. Angustifolia), to the classic English Yew (Taxus baccata) and the pale green Griselinia littoralis (a brilliant plant for the seaside and more sheltered inland areas).  All of these are available in a range of sizes. 

Griselinia littoralis https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/griselinia-littoralis/

If you think that evergreen might be too over powering in the darker winter months  we have a range of deciduous hedges that include the Hornbeam as well as the stunning Green and Purple Beech both of which go a lovely copper colour during the winter months adding superb warmth and colour to a garden. 

Fagus syl. Purpurea
Fagus syl. Purpurea https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/fagus-sylvatica-purpurea/

All of the new seasons hedging of these and other varieties will be available to buy from the start of September and though the coming planting season.

Benefits of a Hedge

What are the benefits of a hedge, and why plant a hedge when a fence will give you a quicker screen?  There is a variety of reasons for planting a hedge and with your hedgeplants.com instant hedge you can get an instant hedge that can be as tall as a fence. 

A hedge is a green alternative to fencing, absorbing carbon dioxide as it grows and they can be a lot easier to maintain as well, not needing preservatives to be applied yearly to keep it looking smart.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg on the benefits of a hedge.  Depending on the variety of hedge you can get various levels of sound proofing as well as filtering out dust particles and along side busy roads helping to cut down on local traffic pollution.  The larger leaved plants such as Common Laurel (Prunus Rotundifolia) or Photinia Red Robin are really good for this. 

Photinia Red Robin
Photinia Red Robin Instant Hedge

A hedge will also slow wind speed across an area by allowing some air to pass though it unlike a fence that forces all of the air up and over it which can cause damaging turbulence on the other side.

While this is all good it is only when you start to look at the amount of beneficial wildlife that a hedge can support that its main benefits are seen.  In research done by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust it has been found that a mature field hedge can support up to 1500 different invertebrate species and 130 different types of wild flower.  While a garden hedge will probably not support this number of different species it will still act as a home to a large number of insects, birds and small mammals, that are beneficial to a domestic garden, as well as acting as a corridor for smaller mammals and birds to move along safely.

mixed Native hedge
Mixed Native Hedging Mix 1; Hawthorn, Field Maple, Hazel

While to get the maximum diversity of wildlife possible, you would need a Mixed Native Hedge, any hedge would provide a habitat for more wildlife than a fence.  If it is possible to allow the hedge to flower and then fruit it was be much more appealing for wildlife and if grown this way it will need trimming in the very late summer or in the winter months when everything is dormant.

Low Instant Hedging Alternatives

Here at Hedgeplants.com we have still got a high demand for ‘ready hedge’ Box hedging and we are still producing and selling over 5000 metres per year but we have seen a big increase in requests for a Box replacement plant.  A direct replacement for Box seems impossible with all the alternatives having different characteristics.  The best that we have come across are

Taxus baccata – this can be kept trimmed down at around 40-45cm tall making an amazing low hedge.  It also has the added benefit that there is an availability of yew in topiary shapes specifically balls, cones and pyramids.  This means that yew can be the complete package for topiary and knot gardens.

https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/taxus-baccata/

Ilex crenata Dark Green – this Japanese holly is a small leaved Readyhedgeevergreen that looks surprisingly similar to box. When it flushes with new growth it is not quite as uniform meaning that it requires more regular trimming to keep it looking its best.  It also prefers a slightly acidic soil to perform at its peak and grow into the perfect Hedge plant for your landscaping project.

https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/ilex-crenata/

Osmanthus burkwoodii – again this can be kept trimmed down at around the 40-45cm tall and around 30cm wide.  A small dark leaved evergreen which will have a few highly scented white flowers on it (although this is reduced if kept really well trimmed).  It is making a very good-looking Box replacement hedge and becoming more popular for this purpose

https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/osmanthus-burkwoodii/

Ligustrum ovalifolium– straight green privet Instant Hedge, we have been trialling this to see if it can be kept trimmed closely to make a low instant hedge and so far, it is working at around the 50-60cm tall mark so is the perfect height.  We have high hopes that after another year of trialling it we will be able to say that this while not an ultra-low hedge will still make a very acceptable instant low hedge.

https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/green-privet-ligustrum-ovalifolium-instant-hedging/

Lonicera nitida – shrubby honeysuckle is a lovely instant low hedge but it does require a regular trim to keep it looking at its best.

https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/lonicera-nitida/

Looking to the future we have some trial crops for instant low hedging including Nandina Domestica ‘Obsessed’, Pittosporum ‘Golf Ball’, Phillyrea angustifolia and Photinia ‘Little Red Robin’.  While these trials are still at a young age so far they shown that all have the potential to be grown as low ready hedges in the future.

Watering of Instant Hedging Plants

After a dry winter we have now had an abnormally warm period which has made a lot of the plants think that we are coming into spring.  Here on the Hedgeplants.com nursery we are seeing a few of the instant hedging ranges show signs of coming out of dormancy with either swelling and greening of the new buds or starting to come into leaf.  With this breaking of dormancy comes an increased demand for water and in some cases food as well. 

Mixed Native hedging
https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/mixed-native-hedging-instant-hedge/

With the dry winter we have been having there is not much available water at the moment and what rain we have been having it is not really soaking into the soil.  So now is a good time to start adding additional water especially for newly planted instant hedging plants.  On the nursery we have already started watering to help boost the plants.

Giving additional water now when the instant hedging plants are just starting to put new growth out will help with establishment as well as maximise the amount of growth that you get in a season.  We would recommend watering at the moment once a week and slowly increasing this frequency as the amount of leaf increases and the days get warmer. 

As a guide of watering a trough instant hedging will require 3-5 litres of water per day in the height of the summer, and if planting from a Hedge bag it will require 10-15 litres of water per day in the height of the summer.  These are just guides and more maybe needed if it is really hot and windy and less if it is cooler and damp.

Photinia Red Robin
https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/photinia-red-robin/

It is also a good time to add some slow release fertiliser around your plants as this will again help to maximise the amount of growth that you will get in a year.  Doing this work now will give your plants a great boost and give you a great looking and happy hedge for the coming year.

Portugal Laurel New Hedge

Evergreen Instant Hedging

Now we are nearly at the shortest day of the year it is the turn of the evergreen Instant hedging to come into its own. Being evergreen they have been quietly acting as a back drop to the garden all year but now the leaves are off all the other plants, they start to show off their form and structure. The Evergreen Instant Hedging comes in two type the conifers and the broad leaves and they both perform as well as each other. Probably the best known of the instant evergreen hedges is English Yew (Taxus baccata) which forms a dark green dense hedge, that is capable of being trimmed up into a really tight and smart hedge. It’s the ideal natural privacy screening for your garden project.

With the broadleaved evergreens the range of leaf sizes and colours is much more varied. You have the lovely dark green leaves and red stems of the Portugal Laurel (Prunus lus. Angustifolia) which makes an instant hedge that is an equal of the English Yew. At the other end you have the lovely pale green almost apple green of Grisellinia littoralis, which is a welcome change in colour but is unfortunately really only suitable for growing in inner city areas or on the coast as it is slightly more tender ready hedge.

If the leaves of these plants are a bit larger than might be considered and something with smaller more delicate leaves are needed Osmanthus burkwoodii might be considered. This plant can be kept down in height as a good Box (Buxus sempervirens) substitute and will also look as smart but it can also be grown up to around the 120-150cm height and still retain the density and smartness that it has at the lower height. If allowed to be a little unkempt and not as trimmed the Osmanthus burkwoodii will have a small white flower which has a strong perfume.

If green leaves are not going to fit into the planting scheme there is Elaeagnus ebb. ‘Compacta’ and Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) both of which have a grey green foliage, but you can almost describe the Elaeagnus as having a silver foliage which makes an amazing and very different back drop to a garden.

All this Evergreen Instant hedging is available to buy here.
https://www.hedgeplants.com/product-category/evergreen-hedges/

Rootball Hedging is here

Rootball Hedging season is now with us and here at HedgePlants.com we have a specially selected range of plants.  We work with a small group of growers, who we have worked with over many years, to bring you high quality field grown plants.  Each year different members of the team visit these nurseries to see what will be coming through for the coming season and to help keep the close working relationship that we have with these growers going.

This year it has been very dry and it made a nice change to walk the fields without getting wet feet.  Even though it has been dry, our Taxus grower has still had some amazing growth and this year we think these are some of the best rootball hedging plants that they have produced, being uniform in shape and size.

With the trees that are made into screening panels the dry weather has meant that they have been lifted later this year but we still have some great growth and reckon that they will make some great screening panels.  What we offer on the website are off the shelf sizes but if you need something a little bit different please contact us ([email protected]) with your size requirements and we will see what we can make up for you.  Almost anything is possible.

The range that we have put on the website is our most popular sizes of field grown stock.  If you are looking for larger plants or larger quantities, we will have them available and will give you a bespoke quote for them.  These plants will be available from now until the end of March and can be planted whatever the weather with some prior planning.  If planted at our recommended spacing these plants will give you a good instant hedge effect.

 

https://www.hedgeplants.com/product-category/seasonal-offers/

Native Hedging

With the nights getting shorter and the clocks changing at the end of this month, it means that the bare root season will soon be with us. This year with it being so dry the plants have not put the growth on as normal and with the soil being so dry it is going to be very hard to lift plants early. This is where the Hedgeplants.com instant Native Hedging comes to the fore and allows you to plant your mixed native hedge or hawthorn hedge now while the soil is still warm. Because of the way that these have been grown, there is a good density already compared to the single stems of bare root plants. The Hedgeplants.com instant hedge have also got over the shock of being transplanted so you will not get the losses of plants that can be up to 20% when planting bare root plants.

Hawthorn hedging

Planting now and using a container grown plant will mean that next year the plants will get a flying start and need slightly less aftercare than bare root plants. They will also be taller and denser by the end of the first year, giving a good effect.

Traditional hedgerows are made up of different varieties of plants and vary from area to area. We have looked at what grows successfully and made up Native Hedging mixes which we feel have the best growing hedgerow plants in them. They are all native species and will provide flowers for insects, as well as fruit and nuts for smaller animals and will give the hedge a good diversity of habitats.

Mixed native hedge

If a mixed hedge is going to look a bit untidy for a garden boundary hedge, straight Hawthorn can be used and when trimmed regularly will give an excellent dense hedge will still providing flowers and fruit as well as shelter for insects and animals.

https://www.hedgeplants.com/product/mixed-hedging/

Liquidambar sty. Worplesdon

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Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ or Sweet Gum is often mistaken for being a Japanese Maple but it is a close relative of the Witch Hazel and also likes the same conditions and they would make a great pairing in a garden setting

As the nights get longer the liquidambar is starting to turn on its autumn colours. In different parts of the nursery in the more sheltered parts they are still in their green leaves, but as the nursery becomes more exposed we have yellows turning into rich orange reds and even the start of the deep purple colour which is so characteristic of this variety. Being a cultivar of Liquidambar, this type tends to all change at the same time which means we will soon be having stunning displays all over the nursery.

When the leaves have finally turned and dropped the bark of this handsome tree starts to play its part, showing off its corky bark on the older branches.

While it looses its leaves quite early in the season and comes into leaf later than other varieties when it is in leaf it gives you amazing cover on a panel from a very young age and on this score out performs more well-known pleached tree varieties.

Highlights of New Lines coming soon

As autumn approaches our thoughts turn to what we have growing on for the coming planting season. This year we have an amazing selection of lovely hedges that are some of the best that we have grown.

A selection of what we will have coming on line in the next month or so is

Carpinus betulus (Hornbeam) a great all-round hedging plant. This gives great coverage from a young age and will grow in every soil type. This is a hedge that the sales team love to offer as they know that it will not disappoint with its performance.

80-100cm tall, 100cm long, 20cm wide

Mixed native hedging. (Field Hedge) we grow this in 5 different mixes which when planted in a random fashion will give you the look of a long-established field hedge. We suggest that you look at doing predominantly mix 1 and 2 with a few of Mixes 3, 4 and 5 mixed in to give maximum effect.

80-100cm tall, 100cm long, 20cm wide

Fagus sylvatica Purpurea (Purple beech or Copper beech) a superb hedge with lovely deep purple leaf colouration. Probably one of the slowest growing hedges we grow but with perseverance it will give you an amazing vibrant coloured hedge. The youngest that we offer has been growing together for 2 years so that you get the best hedge.

80-100cm tall, 100cm long, 20cm wide

Prunus lus. Angustifolia (Portugal Laurel). This is one of the best evergreen hedges that we grow and this year they have really enjoyed the warmth of the summer. For a young crop they are the densest and fullest we have produced for a few years and will make a great hedge.

70-90cm tall, 100cm long, 20cm wide

Griselinia littoralis, with its unique green leaves, this slightly tender evergreen makes a superb hedge in the milder areas of the country and in larger towns and cities. When grown in a sheltered area this will tolerate free draining soils and grow vigorously.

70-90cm tall, 100cm long, 20cm wide

Osmanthus burkwoodii, this is a small leaved evergreen that can be kept trimmed low to make a great Box substitute. It has a dark green leaf and in the spring it has highly fragrant white flowers. It is becoming a favourite hedge for one member of the Hedgeplants sales team

50-70cm tall, 100cm long, 20cm wide