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.
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!