Hedges aren't just or privacy but are a backdrop for a garden or lawn and are a practical and aesthetic boundary marker. A hedge, as a living thing, needs more attention than a wall or a fence. It's usually cheaper to plant a hedge than erect a wall or a fence but some hedge plants are expensive. It's best to buy the plants while they're small. Following are some of the best hedge plants.
The deciduous Spiraea prunifolia grows up to 6 1/2 feet high with arching branches and beautiful white flowers that come in groups of three to six. Amelanchier spicata, or serviceberry, is a native of North America, though it's not found in the wild. It's a deciduous, suckering upright shrub that can grow to 26 feet tall and forms thickets. The flowers are erect and dense. Amelanchier grows in full sun and any soil. Cotoneaster is also a good hedge plant. "Vulgaris" is a native of Europe from France to Russia. It's a deciduous shrub to 9.9 feet tall that produces abundant red fruit in the fall.
Forsythia is also used in hedges. It grows up to 10 feet tall and is deciduous. It grows in any kind of soil and in sun or in part shade. It's one of the earliest plants to flower in spring, and produces brilliant yellow flowers on bare branches. Osmanthus is a shrub that grows from 10 to 13 feet high. It's an evergreen shrub with beautiful flowers that come in May. Some cultivars have very sweet smelling flowers.
Thuya occidentalis, or American arborvitae, is an evergreen conifer with scaly leaves and flat branches. It can grow to 60 feet tall but is usually much shorter, and can be clipped into a hedge. The bark is reddish brown, and the flowers open in March and April, with the males dark red and the females dark brownish yellow. Taxus is an evergreen that can live a long time and also grow up to 60 feet tall. It also makes an excellent hedge. It grows well on chalky soil and can stand clipping. It makes a very dense, thick, long-living hedge.
There are several cultivars of barberry. Most are native to Chile and Argentina and are occasionally found in the mountains of Yunan, China. Thunbergii is a deciduous shrub that grows to 3 feet tall. It grows well in full sun and in any type of soil. The berries are fiery red and appear in autumn.
Bamboo makes for a good, fast growing hedge. Bamboo is actually a grass and some can grow up to 33 feet tall. Arundinaria spathacea is a native of China that forms dense thickets of golden stems, and grows to about 13 feet tall. It needs moist, rich soil.
- Garden Planning & Design; Peter McHoy; 1984
- Shrubs; Roger Phillips et. al.; 1989
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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