Archive for the ‘Evergreen’ Category

Love Your Home and Garden features Hornbeam Pleached Trees from Hedges Direct

The final episode of Love Your Home and Garden featured Ann and Richard Price from Chester who have spent many years helping others through their charitable work and in addition, fostering almost 20 children. In recognition of their selfless dedication to others which has meant that their home and garden has taken much of a back seat in their busy lives, the Love Your Home and Garden team took on the challenge of creating a new indoor-outdoor space with a harmonious, natural flow for them and their family to now enjoy.

Hedges Direct’s help was once again enlisted to provide plants for the garden, but unlike other occasions, this garden featured products of the non-hedging variety! For this episode we supplied products from our other ranges of plants, namely the Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) tall pleached trees and border perennials which helped to create the wildflower meadow section of the garden.

Carpinus Betulus

Hornbeam Pleached Trees featured on Love Your Home & Garden in the final episode which aired on 13/09/17

Work in progress

Squared cane framework creating distinctive and traditional pleached shaping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pleached trees
, also known as ‘hedging on stilts’, are a traditional and formal method of training young branches onto canes creating a framework over which the tree develops and grows into a specific shape. The stems are long and straight giving the stilt-like effect. These trees are increasingly popular in modern garden design, providing architectural interest in both urban and rural garden settings. They are often used to provide an attractive high level screen above fencing or walls for an extra level of privacy, or to create a shaded area.

The Hornbeam pleached trees featured on this episode will develop in fullness and growth, eventually  providing  this type of screening and shade through the summer months.

 

Hedges Direct are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of these specialist trees with expert growers providing some of the finest specimens in a range of species, ages and sizes including the more unusual espalier pleached, roof form and box head trees. Species varieties include Hornbeam, Beech, Lime, Maple, Cherry Laurel, Oak and Photinia amongst others. Whilst most are established over several years and are removed with their full root ball as developed specimens, we also supply a small range of potted pleached trees.

For more information about our range of pleached trees, click here or call the sales team on 01257 263873.

 

 

 

 

Various pleached varieties in growing field

Tilia Mongolica and Carpinus Betulus Pleached

Pleached Espalier

Roof Form Pleached Trees

Hedges Direct Provide Plants For Kingsground Community Project

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 the marketing department by email marketing@hedgesdirect.co.uk or give us a call on 01257 263873.

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.

 

 

 

Love Your Garden 2015

Last night Alan and the team pulled off another fantastic makeover for a truly deserving family. Last night’s episode was all about looking to the future so Alan used some unusual and futuristic pieces such as the Solardome Pod and the Aqua Globe water feature which they combined with linear planting schemes and geometric shapes.

Love Your Garden 2015 Ep. 3

Photo courtesy of itv.com/alan

Here at Hedges Direct, we’re massive fans of the show and have helped complete many a garden make-over by donating our hedging, among other things, to the Love Your Garden team. This year we provided the Yew instant hedging to help section off the shed area and increase the architectural diversity. Our instant hedging is the perfect solution for projects like these where time is of the essence. The pre-clipped, trough grown hedges are easy to plant so Frances was able to get them positioned quickly within the short timeframe.

Love Your Garden 2015 Ep. 3

Photo courtesy of itv.com/alan

Many of the plants used in the Finney family garden can be found on our website. We supply Golden Bamboo, which Alan used to create exotic features outside the futuristic greenhouse and shed. The Topiary cones and balls which were included in the large concrete planters, are a great way of incorporating geometric shapes, ensuring your garden has year round colour and structure.

The Finney family were thrilled with their finished garden and who wouldn’t be?! Once again, the Love Your Garden team went above and beyond to create a breathtaking transformation that will last a lifetime.

Love Your Garden 2015 Ep. 3

Photo courtesy of itv.com/alan

Make sure to tune in Tuesdays at 8pm on ITV or catch up with previous episodes on the ITV player.

Don’t forget! You can save 10% across our website with the Discount Code ALAN10

Hedging Alternatives – Japanese Holly vs. Box

On last night’s episode of Love Your Garden, Alan Titchmarsh and his team of expert gardeners redesigned the Estick family garden to create a beautiful retreat where Mum, Claire could grow her veg and the children could enjoy their outdoor space to its full potential. A hugely deserving family, Hedges Direct were thrilled to be able to help out and provide quality hedge plants to the Love Your Garden team once again.

Rather than going with traditional Box hedging (Buxus sempervirens), we supplied Love Your Garden with Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata) which is very similar in appearance but has added benefits!

Japanese Holly vs Box

Japanese Holly vs Box

It is practically identical to Box, with small, rounded, glossy dark green leaves. Although it is part of the Holly family, the leaves are not prickly so it’s safe to use in all areas of the garden. The main benefit of planting Japanese Holly instead of Box is that it is not susceptible to box blight (a fungal disease which turns the leaves brown and causes them to drop). Ilex Crenata is also a great alternative because it’s not prone to leaf scorch and you can also prune into brown wood if it has been neglected.

Gorgeous green foliage for a compact hedge

Gorgeous green foliage for a compact hedge

Japanese Holly creates a compact, evergreen hedge and can be easily maintained between 20cm – 3.6m in height. It has an annual growth rate of approximately 20-30cm and has an ultimate width of 1.8m. Ilex crenata is suited to most soil types, including chalky or clay and prefers a well drained site. It can be planted year round in full sun to partial shade.

Box or Japanese Holly can be used to create gorgeous Parterre style gardens. The Love Your Garden team took inspiration from these 15th century French gardens last night with Claire’s new kitchen garden. Parterres are formal gardens consisting of planting beds designed into symmetrical patterns and are usually separated by gravel pathways. Traditionally, Box hedging was used to add structure and form to the gardens but Japanese Holly is now fast becoming the new favourite due to its similar aesthetic but added benefits. Claire’s new kitchen garden was a modern twist on this with a mix of bedding plants and herbs.

A modern twist on a parterre style garden

A modern twist on a parterre style garden

Another hedging alternative to Box is Euonymus Jean Hugues. Again, this is almost indistinguishable from Box, only our horticultural experts can truly tell the difference!

Wind-Damaged Fencing

This weekend (15/16 February 2014) we’ve been inundated with people considering replacing wind-damaged fencing with new hedging – wondering if they’d be making the right decision.

When you pay for permanent fencing you expect it to last 10 years or perhaps more but our next door neighbour has hazel hurdle fencing, put up 3 years ago (it might even be just 2 years ago – I can’t quite remember) and quite a lot of it ended up in our garden after the storms last week.  That’s a very short lifespan for quite an expensive fence.  I would think that quite a lot of the fencing that’s blown down or badly damaged in the tremendous storms were less than 10 years old.

Aside from the “instant” benefit of fencing, I think there’s a rather impressive list of benefits that hedging has over fencing beginning with

  • Hedging acts as a windbreak in that it filters the wind coming at it which protects whatever is on the other side in the lee of the wind.  Of course farmers have planted hedging for centuries for this very reason.  Apparently the lee (filtered wind area) is about 10m for every 1m height of hedging or indeed trees, reducing in protection the further away from the hedge.  On farms, this gives an area where livestock can shelter – in your garden, it gives a sheltered area where plants are protected from the fiercest winds.  On nurseries all across the land, owners use “windbreak netting” which is tall, immediate, effective but waver thin to replace hedging without creating any shade (which would reduce the usable area of some nursery beds) and without taking up 1m of space as a hedge would (which would reduce production on a nursery) – here’s a photograph of ours.
  • I’d say that the next most important reason for planting a hedge would be attractiveness.  Of course there are some attractive fences (I’m sure there must be and I don’t want to get in trouble with fence manufacturers!) but I for one would rather look at a hedge which changes colour through the seasons, has flowers or berries or both, or stays the exact shade of green I’ve selected as the background to a colourful border
  • Hedging is flexible – I can have it whatever height I want, make it higher in some areas than others, change the height in years to come if that suits me better
  • It ought to last for a very long time.  Some Yew hedging will be a hundred years old (Jenn could you use a photo of the curvy fluid looking Yew hedge I took a couple of months ago), and a great deal of the Privet that’s used for front garden hedging all across Britain was planted in the post war building boom
  • The prickly species can be great to deter intruders but they have other uses to.  We have supplied a university with thousands of metres of Pyracantha which they planted to keep the students on the paths.  Climb through a pyracantha hedge (or any of the other prickly species like Hawthorn, Blackthorn, or half a dozen Berberis varieties) at your peril!
  •  Conifer hedging is a great noise buffer – it won’t eliminate road noise but a good dense tall Leylandii, Western Red Cedar or Yew hedge will definitely make it less noticeable
  • All plants absorb pollution (turning carbon dioxide into oxygen).  There’s quite a bit of emerging evidence that the planting of trees in streets, contributes to  a much healthier environment and although you may not be able to lobby your Council to make yours a leafy street, you can certainly have a front hedge (go for a species like Privet which is really pollution tolerant)
  • We mustn’t forget our wildlife friends – from bees, moths, butterflies, other beneficial insects, to hedgehogs (of course!), and other little creatures – hedging particularly in urban areas acts as a wildlife corridor enabling wildlife to move about in relative safety
  • It’s cheap!  The cheapest way to plant a hedge is to use 40/60cm Hawthorn bare root plants which are 59p each plus vat.  For a 10m run, you’d need a min of 5 per metre, so that would be 50 plants (70 would be better but 5 pm is ok and I’m doing this example to show how cheap it is).  That’s £54 including vat and for orders over £40 it’s free delivery so this example qualifies.  Or you could sign up for our newsletters and we sometimes have 10% discount offers!   Although it’ll take time to grow, in just a few years, it’ll be over 6ft, thick, impenetrable, and beautiful! 10 metres (that’s quite a long hedge) of 6ft tall (or taller) beautiful hedging for £54 and a bit of effort – why would anyone on a budget use fencing?
  • And finally, it’s easy to do.  If you’ve never planted a hedge before, perhaps the thought makes you a bit nervous.  But honestly it’s as easy as planting bedding plants in your flowering border

If any customers would like to add their own reasons to this list, please email us (marketing@hedgesdirect.co.uk) or if anyone has any good photographs of broken fencing (before) and beautiful hedging (after) I’ll add them to this blog.

Native and Non-Native Hedging Species

The Westonbirt Arboretum newsletter came in the post this morning and it’s got an interesting article on the native tree trail.  Of Westonbirt’s 2500 tree varieties, only 30 to 40 are native – that is a species that crossed into the UK from Europe, when we were still connected, after the last ice age. Increasingly planning departments are specifying native planting for new developments and although we’re massive fans of native hedging, we wonder sometimes if all planners realise that so few species are native – and hardly any evergreen species.  The two evergreens that jump to mind as being native are Yew (Taxus baccata) and Holly (Ilex aquifolium) – both fantastic but both quite slow growing and as a result of that, both quite expensive.  It’s time planning departments or government loosened up the rules a bit to allow beautiful, wildlife friendly, evergreens that are not native – Escallonia, Berberis darwinii or Berberis stenophylla, Osmanthus (I have this in my own garden and it’s wonderful), Pyracantha, some Cotoneaster varieties, Olearia, and the deliciously scented Choisya – a lovely range of evergreen flowering (and some berrying) hedging plants, not one of them native.

The Merits of Privet

It’s called Common Privet because it is common but Ligustrum ovalifolium to give it its full nomenclature is actually a rather good hedging plant and one of our top 10.

It’s common because it was widely planted in the post war house building boom because someone realised that it did well in polluted areas – that was planning ahead wasn’t it because no-one could possibly have anticipated in 1946 what town centre air pollution would be like in 2014.  All plants absorb pollution turning CO2 into oxygen but not all plants actually thrive in a polluted environment – Privet being one of the few that does just as well when surrounded by car exhaust fumes as it does in a clean area.

privet_closeupHDBlog

It’s an evergreen that keeps its leaves well in all but the coldest winters although often plants bought as bare roots or pot grown and even some root balls are defoliated until they are happily settled in their permanent positions.

It is very easy to trim with soft leaves but always use a large sheet on the ground under the hedge to catch the trimmings because they are murder to sweep up.

And for an evergreen it’s pretty inexpensive because it’s so easy to grow – easy for nurseries as well as easy for customers.

It gets our vote even if it is a bit common!

The history of Cupressocyparis Leylandii

How did Leylandii (Cupressocyparis leylandii) become the fastest growing hedging plant?

Still popular despite its reputation for upsetting the neighbours, Leylandii is a hybrid of an Alaskan cypress (for hardiness) and a Californian cypress (for fast growth) and was propagated in Wales in the 1800s by a Mr Leyland who gave it the name.

leylandll_close_page_imageHDBlog

It’s actually one of our top 10 selling hedging plants so don’t let its reputation put you off if you need tall hedging, quick growth, low cost, noise reduction, evergreen colour (or golden evergreen colour in the case of the very lovely Cupressocyparis leylandii Castlewellan Gold or Golden Leylandii for short!).