The Mains of Drum

Hedge Your Bets!

Published 07/03/2022

A staple of many gardens, hedges are much more than a mere boundary marker between neighbouring gardens. They serve a variety of purposes, including excellent habitat and protection for garden wildlife and act as a wind break for delicate herbaceous plants/crops.

From a lush formal boundary to a largely untamed wildlife hedge, the type of hedging plants used will determine the characteristic of the mature hedge. Evergreen hedging such as Buxus (Box), Elaeagnus and Ligustrum provide year round colour, whereas deciduous hedging like Carpinus (Hornbeam) and Fagus (Beech) allows light to penetrate during the winter months when light is a precious commodity.

Hedging needn't just be green and leafy, as there are many options which can provide flowers and fruits. Some are edible, such as Rubus fruticosus (Blackberries), Rosa rugosa (Rose) of which the rosehips can be used to make jams and syrups, Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn) which provides sloes which can be used in gin, cordial and jams, or Malus sylvestris (Crab Apple) which can be used in jellies. There are also plenty of different options with attractive berries which are best left for the birds to enjoy, such as Pyracantha, Cotoneaster and Ilex (holly).

The use of a hedge can greatly benefit a garden and its inhabitants, so is an attractive alternative to the use of brick or stone walls. It can also help to filter out noise pollution in a more urban garden setting, ideal for those with gardens next to busy roads. Furthermore, they can help to minimise the impact of air pollution too.

As the climate changes dramatically and we are more prone to areas of flash flooding, a hedge is a great addition to a garden, as it can prevent such a large volume of rain water from running off hard surfaces which leads to flash flooding. Instead the hedge will take up some of this water and slow down the effects of the heavy rainfall.

There are so many benefits for us, wildlife and the environment. It's time to get planting!

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Create a stylish winter wreath

Winter is a wonderful time to get creative. As the days are short and cold we tend to spend more time inside and less in our gardens. For this project you can bring a little bit of nature inside, or hang it on your front door. You can take cuttings from the garden, forage for foliage, berries, and cones (if the weather permits!), or buy real or artificial foliage and flowers instead. It's up to you what you want to include on your wreath!

First off it's best to go with a theme. Are you wanting a traditional wreath, with red, gold and green? Or maybe something more modern like silver, blue and green? Or you could even go rustic with a simple green and brown colour palette. There's so many different options to suit every taste.

Next decide what kind of wreath base you want to use. You can use rattan (like I have here), or a base with wire and moss. Moss is a good option as it holds moisture, keeping your wreath fresher for longer.

Once you've decided on a theme and you have your base, it's time to choose what foliage, flowers or fruits and decorations you want to include. Make sure to have plenty of foliage, as this is the back bone of your wreath and what makes it look full. There's no right or wrong combination, so just experiment with what you think works well together, and have fun!

Stick the stems into the base until they are secure, or for extra hold you can use a little florists wire to keep the stem in place. Work your way around the wreath ensuring there is a balanced amount of foliage. I tend to add odd numbers of things as this works best.

Once you're happy with the foliage you can start to add in any cones, berries, dried flowers and fruit. You could even wrap around a small set off lights, which will illuminate your wreath and add a bit of festive sparkle. Finish off by adding any bows (you'll need something at the top to hang the wreath from, but you can also add for decoration).

And voila, a festive wreath! Mist the foliage each day to keep your wreath fresher for longer, avoiding the berries, dried flowers or fruit. And for those of you who don't feel so confident making your own or simply don't have the time, we have a lovely selection of pre-made wreaths in store now in a range of styles and sizes.

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