The hedge was planted just after we moved in, just a long row of twigs then – mostly hawthorn, but some beech, dog rose, hazel, one guelder rose and a european spindle…Read more
I have a new best friend in the garden. He’s eight foot tall, has three legs and seems perfectly happy for me to stand on him for extended periods. I am of course referring to a tripod ladder, but not just any tripod ladder. This is the tripod ladder I’ve had my beady eye on ever since I began gardening as career, and it’s made by the UK company Henchman.Read more
My hedgecutter of choice is petrol powered – efficient and reliable, but also a cumbersome gas guzzler. Over the last few weeks, instead of this tried and trusted machine, I threw myself in at the deep end and took a battery powered alternative. Read on to discover how I got on.Read more
‘Oh, but leylandii’s so commonplace’, my lecturer would boom across the labs when doing plant idents. ‘If you must have a coniferous hedge, choose something else. Why not...Thuja?’ Why not indeed? Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar if you’re buying a greenhouse or a wardrobe made of the stuff) is another cracking plant, also well suited to hedging. Except it’s twice as expensive, establishes less quickly, and from across the garden I’m not sure you’d really notice the difference in something that’s essentially going to be used as a backdrop. Its crushed foliage smells of pear drops, which may or may not be an advantage over leylandii, according to your taste. But then few people buy this kind of hedge for the purpose of sniffing it.*
All this being said, I don’t have a leylandii hedge in my own garden – we planted a strip of mixed native hedging, and use a block of yew (also native) to partition the garden (not that everything in the garden has to be native – it isn’t – I just liked the idea of tying the garden to the surrounding countryside). Which is all very well, and we’re quite pleased with how things are working, hedge-wise. It just doesn’t smell as good.
*If you are into hedge sniffing, then may I recommend Escallonia? Clip this and you’ll be engulfed in a cloud of spiced orange fumes. Just add red wine, and heat gently. Only put the hedge clippers away first.
Above all though, this is the time for new resolutions, for planning or – better yet – for dreaming of what the garden will be. You can’t do the planning until you’ve done the dreaming, so you should allow yourself the luxury of indulging your imagination this month. Books or magazines, blogs and articles in the lifestyle section of the weekend papers all provide a wealth of material for inspiration, helping you to picture how you want your garden to be, to look and, just as importantly, to feel, over the months to come.
A good enough excuse, should you want it, for staying indoors.