Bri­tain’s tallest yew hedge

Amateur Gardening - - A Gardener’s Miscellany -

One 300-year-old hedge of yew (Taxus bac­cata) takes two men and a cherry picker a week to tidy up. Sit­ting along­side Lord Bathurst’s man­sion near Cirences­ter in the Cotswolds, this

semi-cir­cu­lar hedge costs more than £6,000 a year to main­tain. At up to 15ft (4½m) wide, 150 yards (137m) long and 40ft (12m) tall, gar­den­ers spend some 80 man hours work­ing on it an­nu­ally.

Each year, the top 6in (15cm) of new growth is lopped off, cre­at­ing a ton of clip­pings, which are then sold to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies. Yew ex­tract is a key in­gre­di­ent of do­c­etaxel, a chemo­ther­apy drug used for breast, ovar­ian and lung cancer.

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