January started the year quite well with a few early snowdrops and the remnants of primulas. February will be even better snow permitting. Leap forward to June which is a spectacular month for flowering hedgerows and particularly in the under-storey.
Identifying plants whilst out walking as a child, was my first introduction to the environment and natural gardening. There is still a buzz seeing a plant growing in the wild that some careful gardeners has subsequently developed for the garden or nursery trade.
Why not under-plant your garden hedges with native species of hedgerow flowers. The trick is to leave them undisturbed, unfed and untreated with chemicals. I would bank up the soil to start your hedge’s lower storey.
Hedgerows by County
- I nominate Somerset as my favourite hedgerow county but I would like to know what other UK counties can lay claim to be hedgerow county 2010.
- Cornish hedgerows have a soil banking (so that helps the smaller plants) with a rocky top and shrubs.
- Devon hedges are similar to Cornwall but with turf on and at the top of the banking.
- The Yorkshire Dales tends to have dry stone walls rather than hedges but the understorey plants can still be attractive.
- In Perth, near Blairgowrie, is the tallest and longest hedge on earth. Meikleour Beech Hedge, planted in 1745, is 98 ft in height and nearly half a mile long. (I wouldn’t want to trim it).
‘Hedgerows, moors, meadows and woods – these hold a veritable feast for the forager.’ and all is laid bear in the River Cottage Handbook. Book link
The English Hedgerow Trust provided this apposite quote from Shakespeare.
I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite canopied over with luscious woodbine
With sweet muskroses and with eglantine.