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 Live, Hedges Direct have been proud to supply the hedging plants and shrubs to many of the Show Gardens and show spaces. You might have seen their Beech hedging troughs at The Living Landscape – A Nostalgic Experience Show Garden by the Garden Design Co with Michael Wheat, or their Beech pleached trees and delightful Pittosporums at Kim Parish’s Nurture through Nature Garden, with Landscapes of Distinction. Plus plenty of topiary & the ever popular Laurels throughout the show!

The Hedges Direct team have teamed up to share some of their top tips for some of the hedges you might have spotted at BBC Gardeners’ World Live, that are ideal for shade, small spaces and wildlife, and how to care for them.

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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.

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Small spaces

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 one of our 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.a

Lavender deep blue - Lavandula angustifolia Hidcote, aromatic shrub, herb

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 the 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 LavenderFrench LavenderWhite Lavender, and Dwarf Lavender.

New year, new garden, new trends!

We’re through the garden gate into 2023, with a host of gardening trends blooming throughout the country. From house plants reaching dizzying heights of popularity, to the colour of the year ‘Viva Magenta’, read on for our full list of trends.

To get up close and personal with fresh garden inspiration, new plants, the latest gardening kit and more, join us in 2023.

Colour of the Year 2023

Hand-picked by Pantone, the colour of the year has been named as ‘Viva Magenta. 

Pantone describe the colour as ‘brave and fearless, and a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.’

Discover a world of colour and scent in the stunning Floral Marquee,  bursting with award-winning nurseries and display.

Sustainable gardening

Whilst your garden might seem to already be very green, it can always be greener!

Discover ways you can make gardening more sustainable, like upcycling common items to make stylish features. What was a pallet, hessian bags, bits of pipe, and tin cans, could become a planter, grow bags, water features, and wildlife habitats.

Be inspired by the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editorial team as they’re joined by experts to give tips and advice.

Grow your own food

Looking to go from soil to supper this year? Get brilliant advice from the National Allotment Society at the event.

Peat-free gardening

Learn about the latest peat-free compost from exhibitors who can offer face-to-face advice.

Indoor gardening

Foliage doesn’t just belong outside – bring nature indoors and be inspired by the Houseplant Hub.

Mindful gardening

Beautiful Borders returns with this year’s theme ‘My Garden Escape’ to give you space savvy ideas.

Gardening on a budget

Discover different ways you can let your garden bloom under a tighter budget, with advice from expert gardeners.

Fermented foods

Visit the BBC Good Food Summer Show (with free entry with your ticket!) and discover the latest foodie trends.

Feeling inspired? Find out what else is happening at BBC Gardeners’ World Live this June!