Hedges Direct's top tips for shady or small gardens
Getting the right hedge or shrub for your garden is crucial for an evergreen feature that looks good all year round, whether in a shady spot, small space or to encourage wildlife to the garden.
At BBC Gardeners’ World Autumn Fair, Hedges Direct are proud to supply the hedging plants and shrubs to many of the show spaces.
The Hedges Direct team have teamed up to share some of their top tips for hedges that are ideal for shade, small spaces and wildlife, and how to care for them.
Written by Hedges Direct
With over 120 species of hedging Hedges Direct have something for every taste and every garden. Shady garden? No problem. Short on space? They’ve got you covered. Looking for hedging plants to attract wildlife and pollinators? Look no further. Here are a few suggestions that may help you find your perfect hedging.
For shady gardens
Portuguese Laurel is a favourable hedge plant to have in any garden as it is easy to grow in all soil conditions and situations from full sun to full, dry shade. It is often referred to by its Latin name Prunus lusitanica Angustifolia and showcases luscious dark green, pointed, glossy leaves on striking deep pink or maroon stems. Small, fragrant white flowers blossom in summer which are popular with bees and butterflies, along with small red fruits which are a favourite with birds. In the autumn, the fruits turn black.
Portuguese Laurel is exceptionally resilient and hardier than Cherry Laurel, although some wind protection is advised in areas where windburn could pose a problem. Prunus lusitanica has a medium growth rate making it easier to maintain and shape. This Laurel species should only need trimming once a year in late summer although it can grow to be much taller if required.
There are numerous benefits and reasons why gardeners choose to buy Box hedging. This species of plant is native, shade tolerant and suitable for most soil types and sites other than wet or windy. Box hedging is a versatile, classic hedge that is favoured by gardeners for its dense and leafy appearance. People also prefer to buy box hedging because it provides a stunning, green privacy screen if grown to height. It’s a fantastic shrub for creating hedge borders, partitions, green walling (mazes and pathways) and beautiful and intricate parterre knotwork gardens. Buxus sempervirens is a favourite species of hedging, as it has a multitude of possible combinations for shape, height and use, which is why it’s consistently a top ten selling species of hedge plant.
Buxus sempervirens has dense, small, round, dark evergreen leaves with an average growth rate of approx 10-15cm per annum. When you buy box hedging, it should be trimmed in late spring with hand garden shears, keeping the blade of the shears parallel to the hedge surface. For an even more low growing hedge, try Dwarf Box Hedging Plants (Buxus sempervirens Suffriticosa), or view the incredible selection of low growing hedging plants for more options and inspiration.
As an alternative to Box hedging, it would be worth considering Euonymus ‘jean hugues’ – Euonymus japonicus ‘Jean Hugues’ is a dense, compact shrub with lovely evergreen foliage. Euonymus japonicus ‘Jean Hugues’ is a dense, compact shrub with lovely evergreen foliage. It is perfect for parterres and formal hedging as the foliage retains its dark green colour throughout winter. It is well suited to garden borders and hedging; with its slow growth rate this is a perfect option for smaller spaces.
To encourage wildlife
Hidcote Lavender is a lovely variety of old fashioned English Lavender (introduced in 1950) but with dark purple flower spikes – stunning for large planting schemes. Lavender ‘Hidcote’ is a hardy variety of Lavender native to the British Isles and is incredibly fragrant with vivid purple flowers that are a magnet for bees and other pollinators. This makes them an ideal companion to your fruit trees or garden veg patch. This variety grows to about 50cm and is included in our low growing section alongside a selection of alternative species. When set against the other main variety of British Lavender, English ‘Munstead’, Lavender ‘Hidcote’ has darker purple flower spikes, with a bolder colour of foliage that is equally as fragrant. Combine with other hedge species with flowers and fragrant hedging to create a vivid treat for the senses in your garden!
Lavender prefers full sun, ideally south or west facing. It is suitable for poor or moderately fertile, well drained alkaline soil. Once established they are drought tolerant and they certainly do not like to be waterlogged or to sit in wet soil – plant on a soil ridge to avoid roots sitting in wet soil. Tolerant of seaside weather conditions. See also our range of hedging for exposed sites. Hidcote Lavender are available all year round – plants bought in autumn, winter or spring will flower in the first summer. Whilst Lavender Hidcote is a popular variety of Lavender hedging, there is also the following additional varieties for sale – English Lavender, French Lavender, White Lavender, and Dwarf Lavender.