Plant an Informal Hedge
A mix of shrubs that provide cover and food for wildlife is easy to take care and provides decades of beauty.
- Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
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If you prefer a relaxed, rustic style of garden, opt for a hedge that contains a mix of species. This style of hedge is good for wildlife, as it provides food and somewhere to live. It's also relatively easy to look after, needing just one trim per year in late summer.
When to Start: Fall
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: 3 hours, or more for long hedges
- hedging plants (blackthorn, dog rose, hawthorn, hazel, holly)
- garden fork
- string and pegs (or stakes)
- well-composted organic matter
Prepare the Site
Hedges are permanent structures, and fare best in well-prepared soil. Dig over the area, removing all weeds, especially the roots of perennials. Fork in some organic matter deep into the soil to improve its structure.
Use your weight to compress the soil, shuffling slowly over the entire area. Then repeat this at right angles. If planted immediately after it has been dug over, the soil will settle and plants will not be anchored properly.
Mark Guide Lines
For a deep hedge, set out two lines of string, held taut by stakes or pegs, 14 to 16 inches apart. These form the planting guides for your two rows of plants. For a narrower hedge, you will need just one line of plants.
Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
A tidy, clipped hedge is the standard border for formal gardens. Here's how to get one started.