Coun­try Mouse

Hedg­ing our bets

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

WRAPPED in a shal­low blan­ket of soil in the veg­etable gar­den or pok­ing out from an old wa­ter trough, the 2,000 hedg­ing plants my hus­band pur­chased have been mak­ing their pres­ence felt. Slowly, but surely—and with a lit­tle help from my dad and sis­ter—whippy young spin­dle, black­thorn, field maple, dog rose, guelder rose, hazel, hawthorn, crab ap­ple and cherry plum have been lov­ingly, and la­bo­ri­ously, planted around the four-acre field be­hind our Dorset home. Once the cir­cum­fer­ence had been con­quered, the daisys­tud­ded grass was criss-crossed with av­enues and sin­gle hedges, be­tween which Si­mon will sow a pollen and nec­tar mix and a seed-bear­ing crop to at­tract birds. He’s also broad­cast 16 species of wild­flow­ers, in­clud­ing bird’s foot tre­foil, scabi­ous and lady’s bed­straw.

As he was pre­vi­ously a game­keeper for 40 years, it’s sat­is­fy­ing to be able to do what he wants with this ground, even if it’s a postage stamp not an es­tate. One bent spade and hours of back-break­ing work later, it was with great pride that we took my mum and step­dad for a post-moth­er­ing Sun­day lunch walk along the wispy new hedge line and noted that acid-green leaves are be­gin­ning to flush. Now, there are only 100 Ken­tish cob­nut trees left to get into the ground. PL

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