Unusual Hedging

Deciding on a more Ornate Hedge, there’s never been so much choice. The days of an archetypal Privet around your property or Hawthorn are long gone. There is an increase in unconventional hedging using Laurel (green and spotted), Photinia, Eunonymus and Elaeagnus. However, if you have inherited a bit of a dull canvas you can easily add zing and intense colour with climbing annuals.

They can weave through the dense growth and provide an abundance of colour to perk up what essentially is a boundary line. There may be a redundant post, washing line, bland structure which will welcome a bit of casual growth and can almost train itself – it will find its way. Those who prefer a more structured approach can easily obtain canes, netting and even netlon to facilitate its development. Netlon can be bought in different lengths and widths and can adapt to several gardens of different styles and sizes since it can be cut to the dimensions that you want. One point to consider if you are using netlon or a similar product try and install in the early stages so it doesn’t be a problem when you’re cutting the hedge and keeping its shape. If you are filling a gap where growth has dies off. The climber should be able to train itself from its neighbouring partners. You can create a wigwam effect structure using three long canes and fasten tightly using twine, garden wire. There’s no method and it doesn’t matter what it looks like since you won’t see it.

The best thing about this type of project is that it can be done now in preparation to plant outside.

Sweet Pea’s, Lathyrus odoratus has a wonderful show of flowers and can be prolonged in flower production from dead-heading and cutting back. In full sun with well-drained soil, scent and colour can be enjoyed throughout summer. The plant is hardy and will come back each year.

Ipomea (Morning Glory) unlike its feral counterpart Bindweed (white flower that is hugely invasive) can be sown and provide wonderful shades of purple, pink, blue. The plant, although related to convolvulus, is quite tender so care needs to be taken to protect it from the mildest of frosts. It doesn’t tolerate exposure so a sheltered spot in a warm environment is essential for its success.

Tropaeolum Nasturtiums usually adorn an orange or red flower, this annual is edible and effective in gaps. Easy to grow it needs to be in good fertile soil but not over rich. If it is too bulky you will get lots of leaves but no flowers. In addition, the annual doesn’t like too much moisture so in well-drained soil. It will brighten up any crisp morning against deep green hedging.

Solanum (Potato family) particular cultivars Solanum crispin ‘Glasnevin’ a deep purple or blue and Solanum jasminoides which is white and a has a faint scent. These are very hardy once they are established and resilient to most conditions.

Thunbergia alata ‘Black eyed Susan’ Length of flowering based on position of the plant, normally will flower all the way through until the frost. It is a tender annual. The plant most commonly is yellow but there are Blue and Purple varieties. It will need full sun and enrich soil. If protected or shielded from elements can continue flowering through the season as a conservatory plant.

These instructions are really for the purposes of a novice propagator so it’s not patronise. It is really to illustrate how straightforward propagation is. Take the seed tray and fill with soil (be mindful not to use from the garden for reasons of pests, diseases and cross infection) any soil-based compost, level out to lip. Grow bags will work but bear in mind nutrients will have gone the following year so use only new and just distribute outdoors any previous years). Buy choice of seeds and usually of whatever packet states keep indoors depending on instructions or find alternative accommodation for them like a cloche. Dib a hole with an instrument or simply use your thumb to gently push the seed to the top surface just under the level or sprinkle a thin layer on the top. Lots of light and warmth are key factors. It does sound like an obvious task but spray lightly with a fine spray to irrigate and this will produce a degree of humidity. In a matter of weeks the seeds should germinate under these conditions; with a little attention to encourage their growth. There is a method that sometimes can help of soaking seeds and does encourage the seeds to crack.  Leave the seedlings in the tray until they are independent and can stand alone. This foliage will be upright growth, evidence of a root system. Care needs to be taken to “prick” the seedlings out protecting the fiborous roots. The seedlings are potted on in small pots to develop their vigour and strength and the when the time is right, the ground is warm, the root system is established and foliage is mature they can be moved outside.

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I'm Craft Gardener with several years experience. Due to the massive impact the internet has had on advice, forums and consultancy services - it seems knowledge and experience is everchanging and we should therefore share techniques and offer others alternative routes in pests, diseases and weed treatments. The very smallest alterations in aspect, soil conditioning and pruning can determine a plants vigour, health and lifespan hugely. My blogs and online assistance should motivate and interest even the most amateur of green fingered people. As my ex partner used to say "it's green isn't it"?