Archive for the ‘Pyracantha’ Category

Plant For A Spring Spectacle

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.

Christen the season with catkins! These long, hanging fruits dangle from the branches of Alder, Hazel, Hornbeam and Willow, attracting a range of British birds and other wildlife to your garden.

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:

 

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.