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Waiting for hedges

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 20 Oct 2009 at 01:27 PM

Lettuce hedge 

Hedges frustrate me.  The trouble is I'm not a patient soul.  I want everything NOW or better still a week last Thursday.  Hedges, unfortunately, don't fit with this sort of timescale.  Unless you are prepared to take out a second mortgage for some pre-grown sections, you are left with only two options.

First, you can plant a fast grower.  Privet is a good example of this and is something I would not wish on my worst enemy.  We had a privet hedge at our last house and it reminded me of those intensely annoying candles that relight.  No sooner had you finished a laborious day's hedge cutting, than it would spring up again needing another trim.

Second, you can be terribly sensible and plant something like yew - a gorgeous backdrop to any planting, stately, majestic, only needing an annual cut - and very, very, very slow.  Here most gardeners will tut and say "No it's not, you'll have a fine hedge in only five years time".  Five years!  Can you imagine waiting five years to have your bathroom plumbed in or your kitchen finished?  Exactly.

The only people less patient than me are the children.  This is rather unfortunate as one place I have planted a yew hedge is on the boundary of their new gardens.  I pointed at the collection of small, weedy looking plants, barely a foot high and said, in my best Mary Poppins chirpy voice, "Look, you've already got a hedge!"

They gave me a look which said it all.

However, today I have found the solution.  I was walking past the veg beds when I spotted the perfect hedge to span the wait.  It's about two foot high, comes in either a vivid green or beautiful shade of purple, is incredibly cheap and the kids can plant it themselves.  Oh, and it's edible.

OK, so it's a line of bolted lettuces, but I still think it looks better than most things in the garden right now.  And, yes, it's not going to last very long, but then you have the fun of resowing it throughout the growing season - and even changing the shade whenever you fancy.  I am calling it the Peter Rabbit hedge, because I feel he would have approved.


Foxnfirefly said:

LOL! Bolted lettuce does makes a very interesting display, for kids or not.  But for serious hedges, try dwarf Japanese holly.  It can beat privet and boxwoods (the hollies are faster but not over-active like privets).

on 21 Oct 2009 at 04:17 AM

Dawn Isaac said:

Dwarf Japanese Holly - what an interesting idea - one I will have to try.  And yes, I think bolted lettuces will feature in the 'grown ups garden' as well- it's such a great annual foliage plant addition.

on 21 Oct 2009 at 09:21 AM

Ashridge Trees said:

Ahh, the famous slow growing yew slander. It really really isn't, but there is a "secret".

Don't cut the leading stem, as you would for just about any other hedging. The young plants will keep their vigour until that main stem is snipped. This is the mistake that everyone makes and which gives yew its undeserved reputation as a slow grower.

As for privet, get an electric trimmer (at my age, I don't appreciate the exercise!)

on 12 Jan 2010 at 08:48 PM