Choos­ing the great bar­rier leaf

With Diar­muid Gavin All you need to know about creat­ing the best bound­aries to add in­ter­est and prac­ti­cal­ity I

Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - FRONT PAGE -

was re­cently asked for some ad­vice on plant­ing a hedge in a coun­try­side plot. The owner needed a boundary hedge to sep­a­rate his new gar­den from a field be­yond. He wanted some­thing fast and cheap, and was plan­ning to pur­chase bare- root stock for plant­ing this month.

His ini­tial idea was for a lau­rel hedge. This is a vig­or­ous ev­er­green with large glossy leaves and is ex­cel­lent as a screen­ing hedge.

How­ever, given the ru­ral set­ting, it struck me as an op­por­tu­nity to plant a na­tive hedgerow. This will pro­vide much more or­na­men­tal in­ter­est through­out the year with the var­ied fo­liage, berries and flow­ers from the dif­fer­ent species. In ad­di­tion, a na­tive hedgerow sup­ports a wide range of wildlife, from bees, but­ter­flies and birds to badgers and bats.

The flow­ers pro­vide pollen, the branches of­fer nest­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and the berries are a sup­ply of valu­able win­ter food.

Bats even use th­ese hedges as a kind of satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem to guide them on their flight paths.

As th­ese hedgerows criss- cross Bri­tain through farms and gar­dens, they form wildlife cor­ri­dors which are es­sen­tial for a healthy ecol­ogy. For the gar­dener, they are re­li­able per­form­ers in tricky con­di­tions. As na­tives, they have adapted to our cli­mate and soil so that even when the earth is poor or damp, or when the cli­mate gets ex­treme, they’re not go­ing to faint and wilt.

So if you are think­ing about adding a hedge to your gar­den, here’s my top choice of na­tive hedgerow species.

It is dense, thorny and fast- grow­ing, mak­ing it ideal as a bar­rier for live­stock.

It sup­ports hun­dreds of in­sects, and its flow­ers, berries and fo­liage cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing tapestry.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.