Saturday, 15 April 2017

Hedge Fun

Our garden is surrounded on 3 sides by a big field (Billy's Field) used for grazing cattle during the summer.  There's a fairly unruly - but old - hedge all around. The hedge is mainly hawthorn with holly, elder, blackberries, a few raspberries, wild plums, a shrub with little mauve flowers, and various creepers. Billy cuts the field side once a year and we try to keep our side under control from time to time.

At the front, between the garage and store-room and the road, there is a row of conifers and in front of that another very old hedge. It's mainly hawthorn and blackberries. One end of this hedge has been getting rather thin - the hawthorn gradually dying leaving just brambles and some other scraggy climber. Over the years we've tried to patch up the gaps with more hawthorn seedlings (which sprout everywhere in our garden) but none have survived.

The problem is that the ground is really dry and fully of rubble, old bottles, bits of glass, cans, tiles.....We also found a cast-iron feeding trough, a length of metal hawser and a glass demi-john. So the poor hedge stood no chance. It was clearly a very old hedge, nicely layered a long time ago with trunks 10 ins and more across, but mostly so rotten I could pull great chunks off with my hands.

So this week we've been cutting back and digging up the old hedge ready to plant a brand new one.

Each autumn our local council (North West Leicestershire District Council) together with the National Forest offer free trees to residents and last year this included 30m of hedging - hawthorn, hazel and some rowan trees. So we took up this offer. Didn't manage to get them in last years so put them in pots to overwinter. We also have some holly saplings.

We'll get out all the old dead wood and dry soil and rubble and put in a great load from our compost heap. Hopefully the new hedgelings will take root and grow quickly, because at the moment the bare space looks hideous.

(We live in the National Forest.)

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