Field Hedge To Be Proud Of
increasing numbers of rural properties there
are many more original field hedges which border
gardens. Usually they are in a sorry state with
gaps between plants and bare legs all along
the base. The predominant plant is often hawthorn
or blackthorn with a mixture of other shrubs,
trees and scramblers making up the balance.
Holly, spindle, gorse, honeysuckle, dog rose
and elderberry are common. This combination
of plants provides interest and colour throughout
the four seasons.
Unfortunately other less welcome plants lurk
in field hedges ready to send their offspring
out to colonize the garden. Bindweed, coltsfoot,
bishop weed, vetch and horse tail are weeds
to be reckoned with. Where the hedge is bare
at the base glyphosate weedkiller can be carefully
applied by hand .It will have no adverse effect
on woody bark. It will offer a reasonable kill
of even the worst weeds by entering through
the leaves and travelling down killing the weed
at the root. When using weed killers wear protective
clothing including gloves.
There are three types of planting which can
be used to fill the gaps.
More hedging material may be planted into the
gaps to grow up and knit in. Prepare the planting
hole well adding bone meal and compost. Clip
the new plants in June for a couple of years
to encourage them to branch and become bushy.
The soil under an established hedge is always
dry so water regularly even in damp weather.
plants may be used to gap up and, at the same
time, add colour. Foxgloves look so natural
growing in a hedge especially the common purple
flowering variety. Adding a few white flowered
will brighten the hedge. They will seed readily
and may become a weed. Removing most of the
dead flowers before they seed will reduce the
number of seedlings. The primrose is a wonderful
spring plant and will thrive on the North side
of the hedge. Bergenia, Elephants ears,
is evergreen with big glossy leaves and pink,
red or white flowers in winter. Achillea, yarrow,
makes a good filler with its pink or yellow
flat plates of flowers.
Try Achillea Coronation Gold or
A.millefolium Cerise Queen. Scrambling
or climbing plants are quick to fill gaps.Initial
training to keep the shoots criss crossing the
space helps. Vigorous plants include Clematis
montana, C.tangutica and C.alpina. Fallopia,
Russian vine, is rampant. Honeysuckle, especially
Lonicera henryii, is evergreen.
last gap filler and it is thorny - Pyracantha
Orange Glow, evergreen with white
flowers and clusters of orange berries throughout
the winter or until the birds devour them.
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