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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.

Hedgerows, Birds and Trimming Responsibly

The bird breeding season is usually between March – August, however birds can occasionally breed outside of this time-frame due to a number of environmental factors, including;

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Geography – this has an impact on breeding, as birds with a breeding range far up north have a longer distance to travel, migrating to find their ideal breeding location.

Food – this is another key factor that affects breeding, as birds are more likely to breed when there is an abundance of food available to feed their young. When food is sparse, birds may migrate to an area where it is easier to find, which delays breeding.

Nesting – Breeding times can also be impacted by the building of the nesting site. Species that re-use old nests can breed straight away, early in the season; whereas, birds that build a new nest every year can only mate later in the season when the nest is finished.

 

 

 

Nests are often found in hedges, as these diverse plants provide birds with shelter and warmth in the winter; an assortment of food and nutrients year round and a safe environment in which to breed and provide for their young.

Hedges consist of a simple lifecycle; insects feed on the flora and then birds feed on these insects. This creates a thriving biodiversity – one of the many reasons that British hedgerows are so important to our society; without them, British wildlife would struggle, particularly birds.

 

 

The most common hedgerow birds are:

Blackbirdthese native birds are often found nesting within the hedge and adore the seasonal fruit produced by hedgerows. An omnivorous species, blackbirds also enjoy foraging for insects and worms in the growth surrounding the lower part of the hedge. It is the female blackbird that builds the nest, using grass, dry leaves and mud to create a domed, firm structure to protect the young.

Chaffinchthis is the most common hedgerow bird in Britain. Both male and female chaffinches are responsible for building the nest; working together to combine moss, feathers, wool and sometimes even spider webs to create a secure place for the eggs. Chaffinches eat from the hedgerow floor, feeding their young caterpillars, earwigs and spiders.

Greenfinchthis variety of bird is attracted to the quiet, bushy security of hedges, and feasts on any available hips and haws. In the past, greenfinches suffered a decline in numbers, as a destruction of hedgerows meant they had to adapt their diet and habitat to suit the garden environment.

Wren known as Britain’s most common breeding bird, the male wren chooses a hedge and then builds several different nests, hidden in the low part of the hedge, before inviting a female to choose her favourite. When plenty of food is available, male wrens may have a few different families at the same time; however, if food is sparse, he focuses on one nest.

 

 

There are several other species of bird that choose to nest and feed in hedges, such as linnets, thrushes, and yellow hammer birds. On the other hand, nightingales and blue tits, although sometimes found nesting within hedges, prefer a woodland environment as this is where the majority of their diet comes from.

The form of a hedge influences the variety of birds found within it, with most birds preferring an overgrown and unkempt hedge; whereas, sparrows, robins and wrens favour hedges that are thicker at the bottom, as this protects the ground from frost, making it easier for them to forage in winter.

The best shape to encourage birds to nest in your hedge is a trapezium shape; this is keeping the base wider than the peak, providing cover for safe foraging. To encourage sparrows in particular, the best hedging variety to plant is honeysuckle or hawthorn.

We recommend that any heavy clipping of hedges and trees is avoided between March and August as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds. It is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to kill, injure or take any wild bird; take, damage or destroy the nest of a wild bird and take or destroy the egg of a wild bird. Therefore, it is an offence to cut a hedge, knowing there is a nest present. Always check your hedges thoroughly before trimming.

The benefits of Hedgerows

Hedgerows and hedges are an important feature in the British landscape and have been around for centuries, planted to divide the land into different fields and pens; marking the boundaries of farms and parishes and controlling livestock. Nowadays, hedges offer food and shelter for wildlife, provide historical and cultural links to the past and still act as boundaries and screens. However, recently they have become under threat from removal and poor management.

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Hedging plants are important for both humans and wildlife. In terms of humans, hedgerows support the healthy functioning of the ecosystems around us by regulating things such as air quality, water purification and pollination. Hedgerows, like all plants and trees, help to manage air quality through the production of oxygen and removal of harmful gases. This is especially important in urban areas where more pollutant gases are released into the atmosphere. Hedges that act as a barrier between farms and fields, not only help to control livestock, but can reduce the amount of pesticides, fertilisers and eroded soils from the fields reaching water streams. When planted densely, hedgerows can also lessen the impacts of flooding by increasing infiltration rates and slowing water flows.

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British w4439196300_83c7e616e7_zildlife benefits hugely from hedgerows, and with an estimated 73 million hedges and park trees across our landscape, it’s no surprise that they are the most widespread semi-natural habitat in the UK, providing food and shelter for a large variety of different invertebrates, birds and mammals. The loss of hedgerow trees, and lack of future management and replacement, may lead to a decline in certain wildlife if they cannot find flowers, berries and nuts to feed on or habitats to live in. As well as shelter and food, hedges also provide corridors for certain wildlife, su12672946815_b7df8b8cd2_zch as hedgehogs and mice, to safely move through landscapes from one habitat to another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woodland Trust is currently working to implement schemes and solutions to stop the decline in hedgerows and manage future growth more sustainably. Without this, there is the possibility of Britain losing a large part of its history and culture, and a huge number of wildlife losing both their homes and food supply.