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Monthly Archives: February 2013

  • The Benefits of Native Hedging

    There are many options available to you while selecting plants for hedging. Options include evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. Hedges planted with native plants are an attractive option for both gardens and farm hedges and are recommended by English Woodlands.

    For beginners, they are a fairly low-risk option. Through native hedging it’s possible to select species well-suited to local environmental conditions, for instance soil type and aspect. If chosen correctly, native plants can be found which establish well in most conditions. Carpinus betulus (hornbeam) is suitable for clay soils, where Euonymous europaeus (spindle) prospers in Alkaline. For windy locations Cratagus monogyna (hawthorn) proves tolerant to high winds, and Alnus glutinosa (alder) is tolerant enough of water to be planted along streams and rivers.

    Importantly, native hedging provides genuine assistance to the wildlife in your area. They provide a ‘wildlife corridor’ to serve as shelter for small mammals, and represent secure roosting and nesting sites. Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) provide berries to sustain birds. Beyond this, native plants chime well with the aesthetics of the British woodlands and forests, and you can achieve autumn colour from the Field Maple (Acer campestre) or Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus). The UK countryside has a distinctive feel, cultivated over centuries around our local flora, planting a native hedge contributes to the country’s unique aesthetics. Functionally, deciduous hedges serve as excellent windbreaks, or can even be grown to create a stock proof fence.

    We understand the importance of providing plants which pose a true benefit to the English environment, as well as your garden. There are a wide variety of native plants for hedging available in our nursery, and never hesitate to contact us with any queries you might have.

  • Plants for Winter Interest – Cornus Alba

    We must admit, when seeking plants to splash colour through our winter gardens it’s always nice to see the odd deciduous plant. Here we’ll be talking about Cornus alba, commonly known as the ‘red bark dogwood’.

    If the name didn’t clue you in, Cornus alba is noted for the vibrant red stem colouring it displays every winter. As can be seen in the featured image, at its best the red is so showy to seem almost lit up, making for an invigorating and unusual sight in an otherwise sparse garden. The plant has some merit during the rest of the year, with dark green leaves surrounding new clusters of tiny white flowers during late spring. In early autumn blueish-white berries start to appear, and are perfectly edible both for yourself and local birds.

    Optimising the plant for winter interest means minimising these other features, however. The bark is reddest on the previous summer’s growth, rapidly darkening for the spring. The plant requires minimum effort to keep, though if you want to see impressive colouring you’ll need to prune down the older branches thoroughly at the start of each spring, aside from the first year. Cornus alba is vigorous, so it’ll fill back out quite quickly.

    As far as placement is concerned, just make sure it enjoys moist soil in a sunny site, these factors maximise the red appearance of new growth. It functions well enough as a lone specimen, but grouping it with a number of others can produce colourful, if not especially dense, winter hedging.

    Cornus alba is an attractive plant with unique winter interest. We recommend it highly, so be sure to consider it when you’re planning for a new winter garden.

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