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!