Bad pruning

Small Garden Design: Hedges


OK, bet there is a driveway near you that looks like this.


Conifers don't regrow!


One of the reasons to avoid conifer hedging is that once pruned, the plant will not regenerate, so you end up with a dead mess to look at. 

As conifer hedging is very dense the soil underneath and around is usually extremely dry and undernourished, thus making it very hard for anything else to get established. So here, the hedge probably belongs to next door and the owner here has cut back the overhanging branches on this side.

One could question why, as any overhang would not interfere with paths or driveways, the result is not the most attractive of look though so how to improve it?

The hedge itself will always look like this, so two ways to hide it, fencing, but it would be difficult to dig the post holes, or you plant. Obviously I would choose the later, but you will need to create a bed away from the base of the hedge and add lots of manure to really enrich the soil. This boundary is on the western side, so will get afternoon sun. I would use a mixture of shrubs and climbers.

Ceanothus, pittosporum, eleagnus, viburnum, philadelphus, and oleander would all do well here.

background plants

A rambling rose could be added which will gradually work it’s way up the conifers cloaking the dead wood in reams of flowers in the summer, and because you have got the space, you can choose the bigger varieties like, ‘Rambling Rector’, ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’, Albertine’ or ‘Alberic Barbier’ all of which are really pretty roses.

The advantage of ramblers is that you don’t need to prune, this disadvantage is they don’t repeat flower – it’s a one show wonder for these chaps.

So no more badly pruned conifers please.

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