Es­tab­lish­ing bound­aries with liv­ing things...

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Advertising Feature -

IT’S just not pos­si­ble to es­cape from hedges. We grow them, we prune them, we rip them up, we de­mand laws to cur­tail their growth – but we can’t do with­out them.

A fence may seem the ob­vi­ous an­swer to cre­at­ing a boundary, but it’s noth­ing more than an in­stant quick-fix to be fol­lowed by years of main­te­nance. And a fence is ugly.

But al­though a hedge re­quires a more pa­tient ap­proach – pre­pare the site, in­cor­po­rate loads of well­rot­ted ma­te­rial, plant the plants, wa­ter them, stake them, per­haps even rig up a tem­po­rary bar­rier to pro­tect them from win­ter winds while they form new root sys­tems – it’s usu­ally a joy to be­hold.

It could take sev­eral years to reach the same height as a fence, but the end re­sult is a thing of beauty. It too will need care and at­ten­tion – prun­ing, feed­ing, re­pair­ing, but it en­cour­ages liv­ing things into your gar­den.

Hedges – par­tic­u­larly well-kept, de­cid­u­ous hedges – are colonised by birds and in­sects, most of which ac­tu­ally en­hance the gar­den. In­stead of a life­less fence, there’s a world in minia­ture, a com­mu­nity cre­ated and cre­at­ing – thanks en­tirely to the gar­dener who de­cided to opt for plants rather than wood or con­crete.

A hedge can also help to ab­sorb traf­fic noise, cut pol­lu­tion, cre­ate a wind­break and even act as a de­ter­rent to crim­i­nals. Berberis, holly, pyra­can­tha, hawthorn or rose have enough sharp edges and spines to make life painful for the most tres­passers. So, for all those who have been toy­ing with the idea of erect­ing a bar­rier, con­sider the mer­its of yew or horn­beam, shrubby hon­ey­suckle or beech, es­cal­lo­nia or co­toneaster, berberis or box, hawthorn or holly, rose or mixed ev­er­greens, privet or flow­er­ing/ fruit­ing plants.

If the soil in not wa­ter­logged or frozen, then plant­ing can take place at just about any time of the year. Re­move all weeds and then in­cor­po­rate heaps of or­ganic ma­te­rial. It’s pos­si­ble to buy plants in pots or bare-rooted. But what­ever your choice, plant them with care. En­sure they go into their new home at the same depth as they were grown in the nurs­ery. Give them a dose of slow-re­lease fer­tilise, firm them in well, and wa­ter. Top off with a mulch to keep in the mois­ture and to keep out the weeds.

GREEN OP­TION: Hedges are a thing of beauty... bet­ter than a fence!

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