This month Hedges Direct sponsored the APL Awards at The Brewery, London to the project value of £100,000 – £200,000. The winner of this prestigious award went to the professional landscape company The Gardenmakers for their garden project at Vale Farm. The project was inspired by a contemporary style, incorporating a mixed medium of hard landscaping materials and colourful borders of shrubs and flowers.
Here at Hedges Direct, we wanted to showcase how to re-create the look for yourself with the help of our fantastic products.
The Gardenmakers were briefed to create a garden that will be used for relaxing and enjoyment throughout the seasons. English Lavender makes a wonderful low hedge and is ideal for bordering pathways. It is the perfect choice for a sensory garden, attracting a variety of wildlife including butterflies and birds. The flowering spikes also produce a sweet scent which will help you feel relaxed and create a calming atmosphere.
When creating shelter from the wind, the rule of thumb is that a good hedge on level ground will provide full wind protection for a distance of five times the hedge’s height. Our Hornbeam hedge plant, Carpinus Betulus is suited for wet sites, working well as a windbreak, noise barrier and creating a privacy screen.
Evergreen hedging provides a year-round green boundary in gardens, along with being a safe nesting site for birds and a great backdrop to show off more colourful plants. They also help reduce noise levels and absorb pollution. Taxus Baccata or more commonly known, Yew is the king of hedging with luxurious, dark green foliage and is slow growing for easy maintenance.
To include areas of interest in the garden The Gardenmakers used a tree to provide a focal point. Cherry Trees are small and weeping, making them ideal for limited spaces. Their display of large blousy pink flowers creates a beautiful display to overt the eye.
The Gardenmakers client’s preferred colour scheme was pinks, purples and blues. Flowering hedging plants is a good way to incorporate different shades and textures into your green space. Escallonia Pink hedging boasts bright pink, bell-shaped flowers which are prominent from June and last right through until around October. Ceanothus ‘Autumnal Blue’ hedging looks great trained against walls and Hebe is an informal flowering hedge which looks great neatened up into a series of mounds with its long tapered flower spikes.
Now we are in Spring and our glorious English sunshine has started to make an appearance, it’s time to get out in to your garden and get creative with your green fingers! Why not show us how you have created this look or your garden transformation over on our Facebook page @HedgesDirect.
Dogwood varieties are invaluable in winter, their fiery colours and stunning architectural displays are emphasised by the surrounding dismal weather, bare beds and colourless plants. They truly come into their own over winter taking centre stage in any winter garden design.
Dogwoods aren’t just for Christmas! These vibrant plants need to be nurtured in order for you to get the best of their wondrous winter display. Brighter colours are emitted by new growth therefore strategic pruning allows this plant to re-establish throughout the year, ready for winter.
The ideal time and method to prune Dogwood for a winter spectacle is in late March to mid-April, just before the new growth develops. Cut back almost a third of the stem, we suggest keeping the stems about 5-20cm above ground level. It’s a hardy plant so it can withstand such a harsh prune and has a fast growth rate you can cut into the back rest assured that it will grow back. Take a look at the image below of a trimmed Dogwood hedge.
Take a look at our ultimate guide to Dogwood hedge plants for more information on this colourful shrub.
Hedges Direct was awarded sales team of the year at the Garden Retail Awards 2017. Leading industry title Horticulture Week hosted the awards at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London with host for the night comedian, Jo Caulfield. The event was very much a success with over 300 landscapers and garden professionals in attendance.
We wanted to put ourselves forward to recognise our outstanding achievement throughout the year and celebrate success in driving the business forward. Our team were so overwhelmed when we were shortlisted for three awards, and not only did we scoop sales team of the year, but we also went away with a highly commended within the Customer Service Team of the Year category.
“We’re thrilled to have won Sales Team of the Year at the Garden Retail Awards. Our team has over 100 years of combined horticultural experience and that plays a big part in the service we provide to our customers. We have lots of exciting developments in store for 2017 so hopefully we’ll have even more to celebrate next year!”
– Michael McVey, Managing Director
Celebrating our Sales Success
The company has experienced huge growth in 11 years of trading, going from a laptop and a shed to a market leader with over 40 staff. None of this growth would have been possible without an excellent sales technique that continues to drive the company forward.
Our sales staff are experts in the field as they guide the customer through the often confusing process of choosing a hedge, planting and aftercare. They also post impressive sales figures that consistently improve year on year and as a result of their hard work, the company’s turnover has increased 28% on the previous year.
A recent change in the organisation of our customer facing team means that we now have a team dedicated to the care and service of our existing customers and ensuring that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The team are also fully prepped to advise new customers on which plants best suit their needs and ensuring the ordering process is simple. The creation of this new team also means that our sales team can focus their time on new or returning business, ensuring that their efforts are contributing directly to increasing revenue.
Customer Service Excellence
Customers are imperative to success and we pride ourselves on the high levels of customer service we provide. Independent review site, ‘Feefo’, holds over 17,000 customer reviews in which we have a 96% rating. This incredible percentage stems from the dedicated and highly experienced staff who offer expert advice for each individual planting objective along every step of the way.
Year upon year our customer service team grows and matures just like the plants we sell and this year is no different. With additional team members, updated online systems and new relationships with distributers and growers,we are able to help customers in every way possible.
Hedges Direct were also shortlisted for the Online Excellence Award. Across our two sister sites we received 2.2 million visitors in 2016, a 33.6% uplift on the previous year’s traffic.
With an ever increasing online catalogue of over 100 hedge plant species from a wide range of growers in the UK and Europe, Hedges Direct can proudly boast being experts in the horticultural field. Working within a business that has achieved so many incredible things in its decade trading has stamped an incredible atmosphere on the teams at Hedges Direct. We achieved record turnover, introduced a significant amount of new products and found new ways to offer an exceptional service to our customers.
As we turn our backs on winter it’s time to focus on spring and if like me, you’re eager to see new leaf growth, flowers and fruits, Hedges Direct have a great selection of plants with spring interest to satisfy our impatience.
For those wanting features as soon as possible, species such as Blackthorn, Flowering Currant and Forsythia boast beautiful flowers early in the season, so early that new leaves haven’t started to appear yet! Gorse also produce early spring flowers, but being evergreen, its buttery yellow flowers stand out next to the spiky green leaves that remain year round.
The UK didn’t have a white Christmas but you can bring this stunning colour to your garden in spring as Dog Wood, Hawthorn, Pyracantha, Viburnum lantana, June Berry and Wild Cherry, all produce white flowers in different shapes and sizes.
Alternatively, brightly coloured flowers appear on Hypericum, Berberis, Purple Leaf Sand Cherry, Weigela and Potentilla. To get the most of your flowering plants, there are some great tips on pruning spring flowering shrubs in this short video from Gardener’s World Magazine.
You can also access fantastic spring colour with the long awaited new growth of Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, which offers beautiful displays of red glossy leaves.
The species mentioned above are just a handful of spring spectacles. We’ve included a list of our entire collection of plants that offer fantastic interest in spring below:
- Bird Cherry
- Dog wood
- Flowering currant
- June Berry
- Purple leaf sand cherry
- Viburnum lantana
- Wild Cherry
Replacing a hedge may seem a daunting task and a 20 year old, fully established conifer hedge, is as pretty much as daunting as it gets. Luckily for one customer, Tony Work and his team from Green Garden Services 1946 Ltd were on hand to help.
Green Garden Services 1964 Ltd are one of our approved members of The Hedging Network and with over 60 years of gardening experience they are highly qualified and have a strong passion for what they do. Located in the South East of England, they cater for anyone looking for professional gardening services in West Sussex.
Their replacement process began by cutting away the thick foliage of the mature conifer hedge. After heaps of leaves and twigs were removed and loaded into the trailer, the exposed main tree stem is taken from the ground and disposed of.
Tony Work explained “we are sure that the old hedge of 20 years did not grow too well due to the planting was direct from the growing pot which should have been broken up so the roots could travel & find their own space”.
Top Tip: Potted plants are cared for in plastic containers which forces the root system to take the shape of its restricted space. When planting pot grown plants it is important to break up the root system so that its structure no longer takes the shape of its container, thus allowing the roots to fully form in their new positions. You can do this by simply shaking off excess soil and freeing the roots with your hands.
The team then placed each pot grown Beech plant in their new position however keeping them in their pots and above the soil. This is to ensure that the spacing between the individual plants is even before they go in the ground.
The plants have been positioned in a double staggered row. When fully grown, this planting method creates a thicker hedge as it will have a substantial depth compared to a hedge initially planted in a single row. Large stakes are then positioned 1.5 metres apart with string tied to each one to ensure the plants are planted in a straight line.
Beech plants have an average to fast growth rate reaching around 30-60 cm per year. A complete Beech hedge will display fantastic bursts of bright green in spring before transforming to a coppery colour in autumn. Alternatively, you can get a Purple Beech hedge for a richer, unique looking feature in spring that will showcase autumnal foliage later in the year. Beech is a native species and therefore offers additional wildlife value.
Tony Work and the team at Green Garden Services 1946 Ltd have a number of ongoing projects so keep your eye out for our blog to see more of their work. You can get their contact details or find local horticultural experts in your area with our Hedging Network.
If you’d like to share your planting process with a chance to be featured on our blog, or are a landscaper, grounds maintenance company or garden designer and want to become an approved member of our Hedging Network please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hedges Direct recently received an order to help a community project in Eltham. The project was run by Greenwich Conservatives and aimed to screen an area on a busy street in order to provide flats with privacy and prevent a build-up of rubbish discarded by the public.
Matt Clare, the Transport and Environment spokesperson for the Greenwich Conservatives was more than happy to share some information and pictures of the mission.
You can see their planting area below, unfortunately, this open area was littered with a substantial amount of rubbish thrown away by passers-by.
After getting the rubbish cleared up and new bins installed at a nearby bus stop, Matt and his team of volunteers began their work.
They planted pot grown Cherry Laurel plants in a single row spaced around a foot apart, using a spade to dig a hole big enough to simply take the root system out of the pot and plant into the ground.
Top Tip: It is important to break up the roots once removed from their pots to allow them to travel and find their own space in their new position.
Cherry Laurel plants were chosen for their dense foliage which, when fully grown, will have merged into a close-knit feature that will prevent people from throwing rubbish into the grounds, provide residents with more privacy and help absorb noise pollution from the busy roads.
Being an evergreen species, a Cherry Laurel hedge will keep its lush green leaves offering an effective screen year round. It can either be trimmed to shape to form a more structured look, or left to grow for a naturalistic appearance.
Matt Clare said “Many passers-by spoke to us to share how pleased they were at seeing improvements and a local Facebook group have also been very complimentary. We are speaking with other private landlords in Eltham and very much hope to deliver other projects like this”.
Well done to Matt and his hard working volunteers.
If you have a community project you want to share, get in touch with Daniel in the marketing department by email email@example.com or give us a call on 01257 263873.
Why landscapers use Hedges Direct?
Here at Hedges Direct we pride ourselves in the highly established relationships we have with landscapers across the country. With over a decade of experience in the horticultural industry and a wide range of the finest suppliers and growers, we are confident that we can provide landscapers with everything they need for projects large or small.
We are always available
Our friendly staff are on hand 7 days a week to offer immediate, bespoke quotes guaranteed to beat our competitor’s prices and unrivalled advice should you need it. Available by phone or email and if you’re busy at the time but want to talk to our staff, you can request a call back and one of our team members will get back to you within the hour.
We have fantastic stock
We have a wide range of stock to satisfy even the most diverse of your customer briefs. Over the past ten years our product range has grown to successfully achieve an increasing range of project objectives. We now supply over 100 hedge plant species, and almost all are available in every root type; cell grown, pot grown, bare roots, root balls and professionally maintained instant hedge units for an immediate garden feature. We have all heights of hedging from 10cm to 9m and even larger specs available with this years’ addition of extra tall root ball plants in our most popular species. We know that our landscapers are faced with large garden projects which is why we offer discounted pallet deals so they can achieve these big projects when restricted to a budget.
In addition to our wide selection of hedging, we offer pleached & ornamental trees, topiary, turf, and a selection of the best planting essentials in the market.
We have a great relationship with some of the finest growers in the industry. When you order from us you can rest assured you will receive high quality plants as they are grown in perfect conditions by professionals with generations of experience. With this supply base, we are able to source external products so if we don’t stock what you’re looking for, we can source it for you.
We offer simple, quick and convenient delivery solutions
It’s important for landscapers that delivery is prompt and on time with no hassle, the last thing they want is to turn up to a new job and be stood twiddling their thumbs waiting for the plants to arrive.
Using our experience in dispatch and logistics, we can assure our landscapers that our delivery is made accurately and on time. Most orders are despatched within 3-5 working days with the option of next day delivery available, just call us on 01257 263873 when placing your order to see if we can get your plants to you the following day. We can guarantee landscapers AM delivery at no extra cost or at a time more suitable to them at a location of their choice. We don’t require a signature upon delivery so we can deliver them to the project location before you arrive. We take great care in selecting our currier partners so our plants arrive to you in perfect condition. We like to save landscapers money whenever we can so for order over £50, delivery is on the house!
“Ive been delighted with Hedges Direct, they’re reliable in both their delivery arrangements and the quality of their stock. Deliveries on the day and at the time that I needed them” Helen Voisey, MSGD & BALI Registered Designer, Helen Voisey Garden Design, Leeds.
We have The Hedging Network!
You may have already heard about the The Hedging Network through one of our email newsletters or read about in numerous trade publications. As a nationwide supplier of hedging plants (amongst other things) we are regularly asked by our customers for recommended horticulture experts in their area, and until now, we did not have a complete referral solution. The Hedging Network was created to bring together a selection of reputable and experienced landscapers and garden designers from around the country, in order to display their contact details in one location.
Joining The Hedging Network allows your company details to be visible to the thousands of potential customers browsing our website every day. As an Approved Member, our Sales team are able to refer customers directly to you when placing their order. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from Approved Members and it’s completely FREE to join!
In addition to your contact details being visible within our database, a direct link to your website will also be included so that browsing customers can easily access more information if it was needed. An Approved Member has full access to our approved badge which can be displayed on your website so you can showcase your membership and advertise that your company demonstrates the high level of quality service and expertise required to meet The Hedging Network criteria.
We’re a social bunch at Hedges Direct and continuously share the relationship we have with our Approved Members through our various social media accounts. Our Approved Members frequently send pictures of the projects they have completed with our products, which are then shared to our thousands of social media fans and followers. These posts include a link to your website and a mention of your relationship with us to exhibit the high level of trust we have with your services.
We had some fantastic entries in our Halloween Pumpkin Carving Competition!
We asked for your votes and the winner is…
Take a look at all of our entries below…
Thank you everyone for entering!
In the run up to Halloween, Hedges Direct are running a photo competition in which the lucky winner receives £100 to spend on our website. If you win, you can spend this cash prize however you want; hedge plants, topiary, planting essentials…it’s up to you!
How do I enter?
Carve your Halloween pumpkin with your most creative design, take a picture and upload it to the following link: http://woobox.com/xk8hnh
You’ll have to enter your name and email address so we can get in touch with you.
How do you choose the winner?
The winner will be chosen by vote. We encourage everyone participating or not, to take a look at our pumpkin gallery and vote for their favourite design. You can vote for your personal favourite in the following link: http://woobox.com/xk8hnh/gallery?web=1
When will the winner be announced?
Entries are open until the 1st of November 8pm and the winner will be announced on social media and if your design has received the most public votes, you will receive an email letting you know and the great cash prize of £100 to spend at Hedges Direct!
Good Luck and Happy Halloween!
Our gardens are our sanctuary, a place where we can escape into our own little patch of nature. We pride ourselves in the time and effort it takes to make our backyards one to show off. So, to ensure our gardens remain impeccable is to keep it healthy and one of the best ways to maintain a healthy garden is to familiarise yourself with the common garden pests and diseases.
Not every leaf spot, scab or miscolour is an indication of a pest infestation or fungal/bacterial disease, some symptoms are caused by planting conditions or environmental stress. It’s important to spot early signs of pests or diseases as precautions can be made to prevent any unwanted damage as the sooner a pest or disease is identified, the easier it is to eliminate.
But what are the main signs to look out for? Here is some information and expert advice on the 10 most common pests and diseases of hedging plants in the UK, including what to look for and how to deal with them.
Firstly, pests. As all gardeners are aware, there’s always some kind of pest eating away at your plants, but that’s just nature. It doesn’t mean your garden is fighting off an infestation as the healthiest of gardens have all types of bugs which do a sterling job in all sorts of ways, from helping to decompose plant matter, enriching the soil, to aiding with pollination, letting your plants blossom. However, it’s the ‘bad bugs’ which warrant action. Here’s a list of the most conventional UK pests we encounter in our gardens and some advice on stopping them.
Aphids are the first on our list as this 3mm long insect is the most common pest your hedge plants will encounter. This sap sucking bug will usually infest young, soft growing tips of plants in spring and summer. With over 500 species in the UK, they are mostly referred to as ‘greenfly’ or ‘blackfly’ but come in all kinds of colours such as yellow, light green and even pink, with some covered in a woolly layer, as with the beech woolly aphid. Aphids multiply quickly, but move slowly so with early identification and correct methods of removal, they are relatively easy to control.
Aphids themselves are difficult to see however the impact of an aphid infestation is visible to the naked eye. Look for misshapen, curling leaves with a yellowing distortion. You can also check the underside of affected leaves as these troublesome bugs tend to hide there. If leaves or stems are covered with a sticky honeydew, this is an indication of an aphid infestation as this substance is produced by the insect as waste.
Natural predators will do their best to reduce the presence of aphids however you can get rid of them by wiping the infested leaves with a damp cloth or spraying with cold water. Chemical control is also available or use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
Another sap sucking insect, is the Scale, these are limpet-like insects with a protective shell-like casing. There are more than 25 species of scale insect and they are active all year round.
They weaken the growth of young plants, and some species produce white egg masses on stems and on the undersides of leaves. Like aphids, they too leave behind a sticky honeydew substance as a manifestation of their presence.
It is possible to remove scale insects with a brush and warm soapy water or you can purchase an effective insecticide spray.
Winter moth caterpillars
When discussing winter moth caterpillars, we are not referring to one specific pest. Winter moth is a common name given to the species that have adult moths, they are present and lay eggs from November to April. This name can be deceiving to us gardeners as these insects do all of their damage during the caterpillar stage and can lead us searching for the wrong pest. The caterpillars appear in spring, chewing their way through new growth, leaving holes in leaves and disfigured foliage behind.
Using pesticides in late March to April will prevent winter moths from infesting your plants as they have not hatched, leaving them vulnerable to chemical control. In conjunction with this, attracting birds to your garden is an effective way of eliminating hatched winter moth caterpillars. These insects are favoured among bird species such as tits, so encouraging them with the correct bird food or planting bird friendly hedging will benefit you and your efforts to prevent a winter moth caterpillar strike.
If you’re a greenhouse gardener, these insects may be your number one enemy as they enjoy wreaking havoc on indoor plants, but will also enjoy attacking outdoor plants, especially Buxus sempervirens. Spider mites are made up of around 1,200 species, live in colonies and are often found on the underside of plant leaves. They leave tiny yellowish green mites and egg shells under affected leaves and if left untreated, a heavy infestation will see fine silk webbing in addition to leaves losing their colour, turning yellow, and may dry up and fall off.
We recommend discarding the use of pesticides as they are quick to develop resistance to them. Regular clipping of the hedge, ensuring that the clippings are disposed of immediately, is an effective way to prevent spider mites from infesting your healthy plants. Insecticidal soaps, horticultural oil or simply washing your plants with a strong blast of cold water are all valuable methods of removing spider mites.
Vine weevil is a beetle known to infest a wide range of ornamental trees, hedging plants and fruits with the tendency to favour plants kept in containers. These 10mm, dull black bugs can be found on plants in spring and summer and will leave irregular notches on the leaves as a sign of their plague. Adult weevils are difficult to find as they mostly come out at night. Give your plant a good shake if there are vine weevils present, as they will fall off your plant when force is administered. In addition to the vine weevil beetle, in autumn and winter, root-eating, soil borne grubs target the roots of a plant which will inevitably cause plants to weaken and die.
Precautions can be made to prevent a vine weevil attack such as chemical and physical control. Check your planting areas, root balls and pots for vine weevils before planting or repotting. There are also a number of insecticides that can be used to treat damaged plants and give protection against a potential attack.
It’s recorded that around 85% of most plant diseases are caused by fungal-like organisms. Their symptoms result in miscolouring, leaf markings and unusual substances covering the surfaces of plants.
According to the RHS, honey fungus has been the most commonly reported garden disease for 20 years running and is deemed to be the most damaging fungal diseases in the UK. Made up of several destructive species, honey fungus spreads underground attacking the roots of healthy trees, shrubs, hedging, woody and perennial plants.
Honey fungus hinders the growth of developing leaves, whilst causing mature leaves to become pale. At ground level, white fungal growth appears between bark and wood and in some cases, golden brown mushrooms appear briefly on infected stumps, usually in autumn. Honey fungus is a tough disease to get rid of, often digging out the affected shrubs and surrounding plants is the only option to minimise potential spread to other parts of the garden. If you have a known honey fungus contamination in your area, we have a number of plants resistant to this disease. Species such as Box, Hornbeam, Griselinia, Lavender, Lonicera nitida, Yew, Holly, Hebe, Hazel and Blackthorn – all are great choices.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease which occurs on specific species and targets the foliage and stems. Often associated with water stress, powdery mildew appears in summer and autumn. If your plants are experiencing this disease, it can be easily identified as a white powdered substance will be materialise on the foliage.
You can neutralize powdery mildew both naturally and chemically. Raking autumn leaves and disposing of them will impact the level of water stress your diseased plants will encounter. There are also heaps of chemical products to treat powdery mildew.
Phytophthora is a genus of plant-damaging Oomycetes that can also have a negative effect in natural ecosystems. This fungal disease attacks the root system and is the common cause of root and stem base decay of a wide range of trees and shrubs. Its presence derives from heavy or waterlogged soils causing large roots to appear blackened and finer roots to rot away. Above the ground symptoms arise once the root decay is well advanced. Deciduous plants will yellow and branches are likely to die back, whereas conifer plants will turn a dark matt green or brown.
As this disease is caused by waterlogged soil, it is important to improve the drainage with grit or land drains and for potted plants, ensure the pots have an effective drainage system. If you are experiencing a Phytophthora infestation, remove and destroy all infected plants and replace topsoil in effected areas as soon as possible. To fully avoid this disease, you can plant species which are less susceptible to Phytophthora, such as Berberis, Hornbeam, Leylandii, Hazel, Hawthorn, Photinia and Western Red Cedar.
Bacterial Canker (Pseudomonas syringae) is a disease caused by two closely related bacteria that affect the stems and leaves of a number of the Prunus genus, although Prunus laurocerasus (Cherry laurel) and Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese laurel) are more resistant to this bacterial disease than their relative species.
This disease is also known as ‘shothole disease’ as infected plants display small brown patches on its leaves in midsummer, which eventually fall out to leave small round holes. Alongside these unsightly leaf disfigurations, sunken dead areas of bark will joined by a gluey ooze.
To prevent Bacterial Canker from infecting your plants, carrying out all pruning in July or August when tissues are more resistant is an effective way to reduce the chance of infection. On infected plants, cut out all cankered areas, pruning back to healthy wood. You can then paint all pruning wounds with a wound paint to protect your plant from reinfection. While mentioning the possibility of reinfection, it’s important to remove and destroy these cuttings.
Hedging plants such as Cotoneaster, Hawthorn, Photinia and Pyracantha can be effected by this waterborne bacteria. Most apparent in late spring and autumn, this disease attacks the shoots of blossoms, giving the plant the appearance of drying out and sun scorching. Cankers on branches, especially where infected shoots join larger branches appear and a slimy white liquid will leak from infections in wet weather.
Prune and destroy all signs of infection immediately, soaking your cutting tools with disinfectant between cuts to avoid spreading the bacteria. Jersey fluid or methylated spirits are recommended by the RHS.
Here at Hedges Direct, we ensure that all of our stock is pest and disease free. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above but are unsure on whether you can correctly diagnose your plants, we have an expert service team who are more than happy to help identify any pest or disease infestation and offer advice. We simply require you send in some pictures of the plants in question to firstname.lastname@example.org