Hedging our bets
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