Go For Gold!

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are truly under way and I must admit, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching all the different sporting events and getting in the Olympic spirit by cheering on team GB.

I’m sure that you can guess that my recent obsession with the Olympic Games inspired me to write this blog. Like the thousands of athletes competing in Rio, I too am going for gold. However, I’m not talking about the prestigious gold medal presented to the winning competitors, I’m talking about golden foliage as a glittering addition to a garden design.

At Hedges Direct, we offer a range of hedge plants with lavish foliage displaying golden tints, perfect for creating a garden worthy of first place.

Golden Bamboo is certainly the first to mention. Its strength and speed are similar to those of a 100m sprinter with the intention to get to the finish line in the quickest time possible. This hardy species breaks our growth records achieving 60+cm a year. The Usain Bolt of the plant world.

gold bambooGolden Bamboo

Our conifer varieties boast fantastic shades of gold. Golden Leylandii and Monterey Cypress ‘Goldcrest’ are beautiful, evergreen species with golden yellow spray-like foliage. Monterey Cypress ‘Goldcrest’ has the brighter foliage of the two species and has a lemon scented fragrance in summer, especially when cut or brushed.

Gold leylandii

Golden Leylandii

Monterey

Monterey cypress ‘Goldcrest’

Golden Elder, which displays an attractive bronze colour when young, turns golden yellow with maturity. Lonicera nitida ‘Baggessen’s Gold’ is the perfect option for summer colour as it is well suited to sunny areas and its leaves are capable of reflecting sunlight which emphasises its golden tint. Golden colours can also appear on variegated foliage, Golden Privet and Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald n Gold’ have green glossy leaves with an outline of golden yellow giving these hedge plants a contrasting appearance.

Lonicera

Lonicera nitida ‘Baggessen’s Gold’

Privet

Golden Privet

Euonymus

Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald n Gold’

This blog couldn’t have arrived at a better time as Hedges Direct welcome a new hedging species to their team, Ilex Crenata ‘Golden Gem‘. Slow and steady wins the race with this plant as it will achieve 10-20cm per year and will therefore require little maintenance. It’s a golden alternative to the green Ilex Crenata and the popular Buxus sempervirens as it is used for creating a low garden border.

Ilex

Ilex Crenata ‘Golden Gem’

You can utilise the brilliant foliage of these plants as individual features or as a bright setting to offset the colours of other plants. So bring home the gold with my suggestions and make your garden a winner.

 

 

 

The Hedging Network: A Focus on Robert Hughes

Here at Hedges Direct, we’re passionate about introducing our customers to reliable, experienced landscapers and garden designers in their local area. In order to pair up our customers with local planting professionals, we created The Hedging Network, which allows you to locate and choose from our database of approved horticultural experts. Having worked with these companies on previous projects, we’ve built up strong, trusting relationships and we’re confident in the knowledge that our quality products are in the hands of professionals. So, now when you see The Hedging Network’s ‘Approved’ badge, you too can be confident that the expertise and reliability demonstrated by your local landscaper or garden designer, sufficiently meets the standards expected of The Hedging Network.

This is the first article in our new ‘A focus on…’ series, which hopes to shine the spotlight on some of our Approved members. To kick start the series, we interviewed one of the founding members of The Hedging Network, Robert Hughes of Robert Hughes Garden Design. A two time RHS award winning Landscaper turned Garden Designer from Cardiff, who is currently living his dream working through a long list of design projects and show gardens. We managed to grab a few minutes with him, in between projects, to gain a snippet into his busy schedule –

 

  1. How did you get started in the industry?

I graduated in Product Design in 2003.  I decided to enter landscaping industry after being inspired by the exciting, architectural and daring designs created by Diarmuid Gavin on Homefront in the garden around that time.  From then on I gained experience by building gardens whilst studying at home in order to achieve my dream to become a Garden Designer.  I established my company in 2008 and went on to win my first RHS Silver gilt medal with my first garden in 2009.

A focus on Robert Hughes Garden Design 2

  1. What does a typical day look like?

Having only recently given up the tools, my days are now much more relaxed. After a cup of tea to start the day and get the brain ticking, I sit at my desk with the views up to the local mountain and let the creative juices flow.  I’m usually juggling up to 10 projects at any one time so I will spend a few hours on one project and leave those ideas to incubate, I’ll then work on another project at a different stage and every now and again I’ll make a trip out to meet my clients to discuss the designs.

 

  1. Which of your projects have you most enjoyed working on, and why?

My most enjoyable project to date would have to be my recent RHS Cardiff show garden, ‘Office box’.  I’m always working towards reaching my goal of exhibiting my own style, having my own personal edge.  This garden is the closest garden I’ve created to date which really speaks of my personal taste and demonstrates my capabilities.

A focus on Robert Hughes Garden Design

  1. What’s your number one gardening tip?

Well I’m more of a hard landscaping expert so I think I’ll focus on that.  A common mistake most people make is using a jet wash to clean the algae from their patios.  This opens up the stones pores and means that the patio will probably go green twice as quick next time around.  There’s some products on the market which help prevent the growth of Algae.  Solve the problem before it arises and keep on top of cleaning off any dust, dirt or leaves to keep those patios looking like new.

 

  1. What are you working on next?

Along with many other exciting projects I’m currently working alongside a local Architect firm to create a contemporary garden which will complement their bold statement of a reimagined 1960’s contemporary house in Penarth, South Wales.  I am also currently seeking a sponsor to work alongside and start making plans towards exhibiting another show garden at one of next year’s prestigious RHS flower shows.

We hope you enjoyed this insight into his expertise. Stay tuned for the next installment in the series, coming in 2016 and head over to our Hedging Network to see what horticultural experts are in your area.

For landscapers and garden designers, if you would like to become an approved member of our reputable Hedging Network, please contact daniel.bentham@hedgesdirect.co.uk or give us a call on 01257 263873 and ask to speak to Daniel, Jenn or Kate in the marketing department.

How to improve your soil

When it comes to improving your soil, there’s many different ways to do this, as well as many benefits. Your soil can be improved by targeting two different aspects, the amount of nutrients and the structure.

By using the following products and processes, you can increase the success of your plants as well as well as the general condition of your soil.

Topsoil

This is the ideal, easy solution to improving your soil ready for new plantings. Topsoil is a specially selected, graded product and, as the name suggests, is the top layer of the soil – the upper 2-8 inches to be more precise. This section of the soil plays an important role when planting new hedges and shrubs as it supplies the bulk of the nutrients and it’s where the majority of growth takes place for the first few growing seasons.

Topsoil has a variety of uses in the garden, suited to the planting of hedges, shrubs and trees, whilst also being beneficial to new turf. From levelling your planting surface to increasing the nutrient count in the soil, topsoil is the perfect planting product and reduces the need to apply further compost or fertiliser.

For all round improvement and a nutrient boost for new plants, topsoil is the go-to option.

Topsoil1-min

Rootgrow

No garden should be without this planting companion. Made from a combination of native fungi, known as mycorrhizal fungi, Rootgrow is an all-natural product that is hugely beneficial to the roots of plants and the surrounding soil. When applied to the root system during planting, Rootgrow provides a sort of secondary root system that gives the plant easy access to the nutrients in the soil as well as reducing the impact of drought and other environmental factors that can affect establishment.

It only takes one Rootgrow treatment to reap the benefits and notice a difference to your plants within a few weeks.

 

Well-rotted organic matter

Adding well-rotted organic matter such as compost or manure to your soil is both a traditional and effective way to improve your soil. You can start by improving the texture, digging into the soil and breaking up any large lumps which will be helpful to the root systems of new plants trying to establish. You can then dig in about half a wheel-barrow full of organic matter, ensuring as you dig back over you are making sure it’s fully incorporated into your soil.

The list of benefits associated with adding organic matter to your soil include: increasing the nutrients in the soil; improving the structure which provides easy access to the nutrients; improving the water holding capability; and attracting worms and other insects that play a part in continually improving the health of your soil.

Digging in organic matter

By using the above methods, the overall condition of your soil will be dramatically improved, including the drainage and surface of your site, allowing for more successful planting all year round. And, as the saying goes, it’s always better to ‘feed the soil, not the plant’.

#HD30Days30Prizes Competition Winners

After a successful month long competition to celebrate 10 years trading, it’s finally time to reveal our 30 lucky winners…

HD-10th-Birthday-Banner

Date Prize Winner
01-Sep Bee Friendly Border Pack Mike James
02-Sep Bird feeding station Donna Michael
03-Sep Planting Essentials Pack Susan Crosswaite
04-Sep Hedge Trimmer Nicki Ramsay
05-Sep Topiary Ball Phill Worboys
06-Sep Bee Friendly Border Pack Christine Abdy
07-Sep Planting Essentials Pack Jeff Hardy
08-Sep Herb Garden Pack Andrew Burns
09-Sep Hedge Trimmer Tim Zybert
10-Sep Hebe Hedging Pack Sarah Ridgeway
11-Sep Nesting Box & Pack of 6 x Fatballs Jane Berrow
12-Sep Lavender Bundle Stephanie Thornley
13-Sep Topiary Spiral Mark Milsom
14-Sep Mini Meadow & After Plant Barry Graham
15-Sep Wildlife Friendly Hedging Pack Harold Perry
16-Sep Garden Tools Bundle Julie Clark
17-Sep Olive Topiary Standard Sarah Fleck
18-Sep Wicker Bird House & Pack of 6 x Fatballs Peter Hutchings
19-Sep Hedge Trimmer Paul Williams
20-Sep Mini Meadow & After Plant Lee Gardner
21-Sep Rosemary Bundle Leanne Bucknall
22-Sep Planting Essentials Pack Jenny Moore
23-Sep Euonymus Hedging Pack Donna Foxall
24-Sep Topiary Ball Georgia McAllister
25-Sep Planting Essentials Pack Rafal Kozinski
26-Sep Hedge Trimmer Jacquiline Brassington
27-Sep Evergreen Hedging Pack Linda Bird
28-Sep Wildlife Friendly Hedging Pack Helena Haddock
29-Sep Nesting Box & 2 x Bird Feeder Seed Shapes Roger Stanley
30-Sep Mini Meadow & After Plant  Rudy Roversi

Thank you again to everyone that entered and helped to celebrate our 10th Birthday!

There’ll be plenty more competitions in the coming months so make sure you stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Macmillan Coffee Morning 2015

Last Friday, we joined the nation’s tastiest fundraiser, the Macmillan Coffee Morning, to raise money for a very good cause and enjoy some delicious cakes in the process. Altogether we raised £111.10 so thank you to all our bakers and cake tasters!

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See what else we get up to at Hedges Direct HQ by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Hedges Direct through the years…

As we’re celebrating our 10th Birthday this month, we wanted to give you an insight into the history of Hedges Direct and how the company has changed over the last 10 years.hedges direct team

2005 – Hedges Direct was established in 2005. In the very beginning, all business was conducted with one laptop and a mobile phone. There were 14 orders in the first week and as the team only consisted of myself and my husband Dave, we used to take our laptop on holiday and drive up a hill to get a broadband signal using a dongle so that we could download the orders – sometimes we even had to use the internet in local libraries to be able to work.

 

2006 – We moved from our home office in Bath into a portable cabin and began selling bare roots as well as container grown plants.

 

2008 – We expanded into a bigger portable cabin to accommodate two new employees and started selling cell grown plants and root balls.

 

2011 – The business relocated up north to Five Acres Nursery in Euxton, Lancashire.

 

2012 – A new despatch shed was built on the site to accommodate the increased number of orders being processed.

 

2013 – Hedges Direct first began selling turf and instant hedging.

 

2013 – This year saw the beginning of our relationship with ITV’s Love Your Garden.

 

2014Pleached trees were added to our catalogue of products.

 

2015 – Hedges Direct was awarded Feefo Gold Trusted Merchant accreditation.

 

2015 – September marks the 10th anniversary of Hedges Direct.

When is the best time to plant a hedge?

We often get asked when the best time to plant a hedge is and the answer is completely dependent on the root type of the hedging plants. Each root type has a specific time frame in which to plant to achieve the best results –

Bare roots

Bare root hedging must be planted when dormant, from November to April, however this planting period can be extended through to early May with the use of cold stored plants. Always check the ground is not frozen before planting and that frosts have not been forecast. All hedging plants are dormant during this period, however evergreen hedge plants hold their leaves whilst deciduous hedging loses them.

Root balls

Similar to bare roots, root ball hedging can only be planted during the dormant season, however this is slightly long for root balls, lasting from October to May with the exception of Box hedging, which can be planted in root ball form all year round.Yew root ball hedging

Pot grown plants

Pot grown hedging can be planted all year round other than when the ground is frozen, frosts are forecast or during very hot weather. You can store pot grown plants for a few weeks before planting in the ground, providing you keep them well-watered.

Cell-grown plants

Cell grown hedge plants can also be planted at any time of the year with the same exceptions that apply to pot grown plants.

Instant hedging

Instant hedging is available to buy and plant year round but we recommend that you avoid planting during both freezing temperatures and extremely hot weather.Griselinia instant hedging

Pleached trees

Pleached trees are grown as root balls so are only available for planting from October to May when they are dormant.

Ivy screens

These green screens can be planted any time of the year, providing the ground is not frozen or the weather is really hot.

Turf

The best time of year to lay turf is between mid-autumn and late winter, providing the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. You can also lay turf during spring but it’s best to avoid laying from mid-spring to early autumn as this period can involve spells of high temperatures and drought. Turf should be laid within 24 hours of delivery.

 

After planting, always ensure you keep your new plants well watered – our irrigation kits are great for this – and consider adding a mulch such as our weed supressent fabric to keep your site free of weeds. For more tips and advice on planting, take a look at our advice pages.

Birthday celebrations at Hedges Direct

Last week, the team at Hedges Direct spent the afternoon celebrating 10 years trading with a birthday BBQ. There were burgers, cake and even balloons to mark a decade in the industry. You can take a look at all the photos below and find out how you can join in the celebrations at the end of the blog…celebrating 10 yearsPaul and June enjoying 10 years

IMG_8377salesThe Sales Team

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BBQ Despatch-TeamThe Despatch Team

Despatch-Team-LunchRandomsBusiness Support Team

IMG_8383IMG_8340 Management-TeamHedges Direct Management Team

IMG_8380 Marketing-TeamMarketing Team

You can join our birthday celebrations by enterting our #HD30Days30Prizes competition. There’s a huge slection of gardening goodies up for grabs every day in September!

Celebrate our 10th Birthday with us by entering our #HD30Days30Prizes Competition

To celebrate 10 years of trading, we are giving away a prize a day throughout September in our #HD30Days30Prizes campaign. The month-long giveaway includes a huge selection of gardening goodies, from bird-friendly feeding stations to hedge trimmers that will help keep your Beech looking its best.

You can enter daily for your chance to win one of these fantastic prizes and help us celebrate our 10th Birthday!

HD-10th-Birthday-BannerPage previewEach prize draw will run for 24 hours on the individual day stated and the competition closes on Wednesday 30th September. Winners will be announced on Thursday 1st October. To enter, simply visit the Hedges Direct competition page, click on the relevant date and input your details. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on our Facebook page. Let us know you’ve entered @HedgesDirect using the hashtag #HD30Days30Prizes.

Stay tuned throughout September to see how else we’ll be celebrating and don’t forget to wish us Happy Birthday!

Greening Grey Britain

Since Easter this year, the RHS have been campaigning to Green Greying Britain and recently, more and more people are joining the crusade to transform our front gardens into sustainable spaces instead of just plain old paving. With over a third of London’s gardens now being completely paved over and many other parts of the country losing their green spaces to concrete, it’s more important than ever to do your bit to get Britain green again.

Earlier in the year, Sean Murray, winner of the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, had the chance to showcase his idea for a sustainable garden at Chelsea and more recently, Simon Fagg, revealed his Spiralling into Control show garden at RHS Tatton Park. Both garden designers managed to incorporate the objectives of the Greening Grey Britain campaign to create gardens that were both sustainable and functional, without forfeiting aesthetics.

Spiralling into Control show garden

Why Greening Grey Britain is important

Often people forget the part that their own garden plays in the larger environment and so don’t consider the damage that paving over their space can cause. Gardens host a huge range of benefits for the environment, local wildlife and our physical and mental well-being, and as our climate continues to change, we need to do everything we can to protect Britain against the negative impacts of losing our green spaces, particularly in urban areas.

Not only does paving take away all the ornamental value of your front garden but it can contribute to increased temperatures and the risk of flooding. The rise in urban temperatures is triggered by hard surfaces, such as paving and concrete, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it at night, resulting in ‘the heat island effect’ which not only makes it difficult to sleep but also results in poorer air quality – gardens are able to regulate temperatures much more easily. And, whilst turf, soil and plants can all absorb rainwater, paving does not and can cause up to a 50% run off increase into street drains, which often cannot handle this volume of water, resulting in floods.

How you can help in Greening Grey Britain

Many people pave over their gardens simply for practical reasons without realising that there are plenty of options that allow a parking space as well as room for plants, shrubs and turf. Here’s a few simple things you can do to join the campaign to get Britain’s green spaces back:

– Choose space saving plants

Climbers and wall shrubs are the perfect solution to add some greenery to small spaces, and Ivy screens and Pleached trees can provide both ornamental and environmental value, when the need to create a parking space may mean compromising your garden.

– Garden for wildlife

In short, the more plants you have, the more value your garden will hold for wildlife. However, it’s understandable that often space is limited in front gardens, which is why planting a hedge is a great way to encourage wildlife without taking up too much room. Wildlife friendly hedges can provide food and shelter for a variety of different species, including birds, insects and hedgehogs.

– Choose permeable paving

This type of paving, as seen in the Spiralling into Control show garden, reduces the risk of flooding as the permeable materials absorb rainfall, reducing the impact of run off.

By making these small changes to your front garden and incorporating the objectives of the Greening Grey Britain campaign into any plans you have to alter your front garden, we can work together to make sure we don’t lose the green Britain we all love.