Archive for the ‘Holly’ Category

Hedges Direct and Love your Garden

ove your garden with alan titchmarsh

The wonderful Alan Titchmarsh, the nation’s favourite garden makeover expert, is coming back to our screens this summer with a brand new series of ITV’s Love Your Garden. Love your Garden is now coming up to its fifth season and in the last four years we’ve seen Alan, along with his experienced team, David Domoney, Katie Rushworth, Frances Tophill and a selection of talented landscapers, design and build top-quality (not bish bash bosh like some other garden makeover programmes), beautiful gardens for people who may have experienced tough times or who play a huge part in their local communities – people who deserve their dream garden. The Love your Garden cast work together to transform spaces of all shapes and sizes and overcome challenges, all whilst providing the viewers at home with top garden tips.

You may think you’ll be busy taking notes for your own garden makeover but you’ll also need some tissues at the ready as each episode never fails to tug at your heartstrings. There’s always a tear jerking section of Love your Garden which involves Alan taking some time to discuss with the garden owner what a new garden will mean to them. As hedging suppliers, we realise that gardens can sometimes be sentimental and link to our emotions – they stimulate our senses in many ways and their very existence is good for our overall well-being.
Love your Garden team
In 2013, Hedges Direct became involved with this Alan Titchmarsh show, supplying a rather large quantity of mature Cherry Laurel hedging to plant in a garden in the Midlands.

Then again, during the Love your Garden 2014 series, we were asked to supply more hedging for the show, which included:

English lavender hedging

Everything we contributed towards Love your Garden was supplied completely free of charge. We are proud to be associated with such a heart-warming programme, and over the moon to see Alan Titchmarsh planting our stock.

We hope all the 2013 and 2014 gardens are doing well with our hedging plants as integral elements of the designs and we’re now looking forward to the new series this summer. To take part in the programme, or nominate someone that you think deserves an Alan Titchmarsh garden makeover, find the Love Your Garden application here.

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!

An alternative to Box hedging

This month I’d like to look at a different variety for use where Box blight has been a problem.

I really hope you’re not one of the unlucky gardeners who have been made miserable by Box blight.  Monty Don took out all his box hedging on Gardeners’ World last Friday and didn’t say what he was going to replace it with.  The obvious alternative to Box hedging is Ilex crenata or Japanese Holly – not a typical Ilex (Holly) at all but a lookalike for Buxus with small dark green leaves, an upright habit and slow growth which keeps it neat and tidy.

But now there’s another alternative to Buxus –  Euonymus Japonicus Jean Hugues which is a bit of a tongue twister and I’ve checked the spelling twice. It’s almost indistinguishable from Buxus to all but an expert and we think it’s going to become immensely popular in years to come – you read it here first. This photograph shows the Euonymus on the left and Buxus on the right or is it the other way round …. let me just double check that … yes, that’s right, Euonymus on the left and Buxus on the right – see what I mean about it being hard to tell the difference.

What's the Difference?

What’s the Difference?

I hate mentioning Box blight in a blog because I wouldn’t want people to be put off the classic Buxus sempervirens – it’s one of our top 10 sellers (literally tens of thousands of plants per annum) and we have not once ever in over 8 years had a customer report blight following supply of our plants so please don’t be overly worried if you’d like a traditional box hedge.

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.