Too often when we decide – or more usually when we don’t have a choice! – that we need to plant a hedge in the garden we tend to go for the more traditional hedging plants: Privet, Beech, Laurel, Holly etc. These plants are ideal for hedging and that is why they have been used so extensively used for this purpose; however there are other Evergreen Shrubs that you could use very successfully to create a perhaps a more interesting and attractive hedge.
If you need a prickly hedge that will help to guard you against unwelcome intruders I can thoroughly recommend the following to use for evergreen shrubs as hedging plants.
Evergreen Shrubs as Hedging Plants
This vigorous Barberry is very spiky and grows quite quickly. It is covered in fragrant, lemon yellow flowers in the late spring and will sometimes produce an Autumn crop of purple berries. Plant at 40 centimetre apart in a single row. Top dress with a good measure of Bone Meal. Keep well weeded for the first year or so after which the plants will look after themselves. Trim in mid Summer after the new seasons growth has ripened.
The well known ‘Fire Thorn’ The following varieties are the best ones for hedging purposes . ’Red Column’ is a strong growing upright variety that is covered with large white flower heads in the Spring and followed by bright red berries in the late Summer. The berries tend to hold on until very late Winter. ’Orange Glow’ another strong growing variety with the same white flowers but the Autumn berries are shining orangey red. ’Soleil d’Or’ strong grower producing white flowers and golden yellow berries. The planting, feeding and trimming operations are the same as for the Berberis Stenophylla above.
If you are not too concerned with the security aspect of your new hedge and you would just like to create a colourful barrier, can I suggest the following.
Elaeagnus Ebbingii Limelight
A broad leafed evergreen shrub that is particularly good in windy situations . The leaves are predominately silvery grey with a broad splash of golden yellow running down the centre. I recommend this particular variety of Elaeagnus because from previous experience I have found that it will grow quite quickly and does not have the annoying habit of dying off for no apparent reason, which it’s parent Elaeagnus Ebbingii is very prone to , Plant at 60 centimetres apart . This plant will greatly benefit from a good top dressing of a high nitrogen feed like Blood Fish and Bone . Limelight can grow to quite a good height if left unchecked so be sure to trim it regularly during the growing season.
Almost born to be a hedging shrub, this lovely plant ticks all the boxes as a first choice for a garden hedge. There are a plethora of varieties to chose from; so to make life easier I have chosen a few that I know will ‘do the job’ and you won’t be disappointed with.
Escallonia Apple Blossom
This one is ideal if you only require a low growing hedge, the flowers are pink in bud blossoming into white flowers; it is slow growing and very neat in habit.
The delight of this cultivar is the delightfully pungent, sweet perfume that emanates from it’s foliage, especially if it is brushed against or when the sun is really strong. This variety has quite large leaves and crimson flowers; it is particularly good in coastal areas.
Escallonia Red Hedger
I suppose the clue is in the name. This is a very vigorous grower with bright crimson flowers and is really custom made for hedging. Plant all the Escallonias at 40 centimetres apart – you will find that they make up very quickly in their first growing season- give them a generous top dressing of Bone Meal after planting and then trim them as needed; Escallonias tend to grow continuously during the Summer months.
One of the most durable evergreen hedging plants you could wish for. Sadly, it does not process any grand flowering capabilities – in fact you would hard pressed to even see it’s flowers – but if you have a really exposed site with howling sea gales or hilltop blasts, then this is the plant that will survive all nature can throw at it ! To look at it has the appearance of a thick leaved, pale green privet , but it will make up into a neat and tidy evergreen hedge of which you can be justly proud. It’s mature appearance is stolid and pleasing to the eye. Plant Griselinia at 40 centimetres apart and give it a good top dressing of Blood Fish and Bone fertilizer to set it on it’s way. This plant is not the fastest grower on the planet , so keep it quite well fed by top dressing at least twice a year -Spring and Autumn.
Photinia Red Robin
A plant for all seasons and for all reasons. Photinia Red Robin was introduced to the British garden about forty or so years ago, I still remember the first time I saw one and I have to say I was quite impressed ! It is a wide jointed plant and as such has to be quite severely pruned to create a decent hedge , but if you have the patience then it is very well worth it ! Photinia Red Robin is so called because of the fact that every new shoot it produces is bright scarlet in colour – though this eventually fades to green. Plant at 40 centimetre apart, feed well with Blood Fish and Bone fertilizer and keep trimming ! You will become a dedicated follower of this remarkable shrub and have a hedge to be really proud of.
Viburnum Tinus Laurustinus
One of the most enduring shrubs for winter colour. This fantastic evergreen has always been a joy to me. It has perfect form in the way it grows – rounded and evergreen and well behaved ! It will start flowering in late September and go right through until May ! It is not the easiest plant to grow as a hedge; it is not fast growing and it has a certain way of not wanting to join together; however it can be done! I have seen Viburnum Tinus hedges in small and large gardens and they look stunning ! If you have the patience and the desire to create a garden hedge that is really something special then please have a go. Plant at 35 centimetre apart and top dress with Bone Meal; this plant is not a heavy feeder. Trimming needs to be fairly circumspect, almost tentative ; treat the plant as if it is an individual to begin with and then gradually introduce it to it’s neighbour, as time goes by it will accommodate and become what it was never intended to be – a hedge; a hedge full of pink and white blossom for the entire winter!