Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Planting Ideas -

Struc­ture is an in­te­gral part of Wyken Hall’s de­sign, which for Sir Ken­neth means var­ied hedg­ing

“We have a lot of hedges at Wyken Hall and they do add greatly to the year-round struc­ture of the gar­dens. I find the great­est chal­lenge is to stop them get­ting too big. In par­tic­u­lar, they can get very wide be­fore you have re­ally no­ticed. It is, of course, im­por­tant to se­lect plants suited to your site. We have a horn­beam av­enue un­der­planted with Teu­crium x lu­cidrys (a very good plant to use if you have suf­fered from box blight), which is based on one at the Na­tional Trust gar­den in Hid­cote, Glouces­ter­shire, that I al­ways rather cov­eted. For­tu­nately, horn­beam does very well on our heavy soil. It went in around 2000, to give us a vista from the house down to the Red Hot Bor­der, and grows so vig­or­ously that we cut it twice a year, first in June and again in Oc­to­ber.

“I al­ways ad­vise peo­ple that yew makes the best hedge, but we also have a maze that was planted in cop­per beech. When half the beech died, we re­placed it with horn­beam, which makes a nice mix­ture. My mother used to love mak­ing mazes – she would draw them in the sand on the beach for us when we were chil­dren – and she de­signed this one just be­fore she died, so we made it in her mem­ory.”

Sir Ken­neth has used struc­tural plant­ing and top­i­ary in places, in­clud­ing this av­enue of pleached horn­beams un­der­planted with Teu­crium x lu­cidrys.

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