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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
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Hedges have long been utilised in cottage gardens to provide both physical and visual boundaries. Well clipped hedges can be planted to create enclosure and provide privacy.
Hedges have also been used to create a fine textured backdrop to deep flower borders. Such backdrops allow for plants colours, textures and forms to stand out.
Cottage garden hedges have also been pruned into various shapes. Formal shaping and topiary is typical of the traditional, English, cottage, garden, style.
Consequently, here, I will list and summarise 10 effective hedging plants for cottage gardens.
Also known as 'English Yew' this coniferous tree has very thin, glossy, dark green, leaves. This tree is extremely long lived with some recorded specimens living for a thousand years.
Yew is also slow growing meaning it can take time to form a full hedge. However its fine foliage makes it one of the best backdrop hedges for cottage garden borders.
Beech is a large, deciduous, tree native to Europe, North America and Asia. This tree is extremely hardy and capable of being pruned into robust hedges.
Beech makes great hedges for cottage gardens as they have very attractive, glossy, leaves. In winter leaves turn a golden brown but remain attached to the stems for winter.
This provides warmth and interest at a dull and boring time of the year.
Also known by its Latin name 'Buxus sempervirens' this evergreen shrub is a favourite hedging plant.
It’s very small leaves and dense growing habit makes it perfect for tightly clipped hedges and topiary. It is very common for this plant to be clipped into formal shapes such as cones and spheres.
In cottage gardens it is regularly planted as a low hedge around pathways and borders.
4. Box Leaved Honeysuckle
Box leaved honeysuckle is an evergreen shrub originally native to China. This hardy shrub is fast growing and easy to clip making it a great hedging plant for cottage gardens.
Box leaved honey suckle is easy to prune into a variety of shapes making it a very versatile hedge.
Privet is one of the most common and resilient shrub species used for hedging stock. This shrub is extremely tolerant of most soils and is very cold hardy.
As a semi evergreen it can lose its leaves in particularly cold winters or on exposed sites.
Privet is well known for forming dense hedges relatively quickly which is perfect if you need quick privacy.
Also very well known as the Californian Lilac, this evergreen shrub has small, dark, green leaves. Originally from North America, Ceanothis is fully cold hardy and drought tolerant.
If cut regularly, it can form a very, fine, textured hedge, perfect for formal hedges. This hedging shrub also has the added benefit of having attractive, purple flowers.
Native to Japan and Korea, Sarcococca is an evergreen shrub with glossy dark green foliage. During late winter and early spring it produces attractive and fragrant white flowers.
Its compact nature and dense growing habit makes it an effective cottage garden hedging plant. Also known as the Sweet Box it is drought tolerant and cold hardy.
8. Photinia red robin
Photinia red robin is a very popular evergreen shrub and well known for its unusual foliage. Emerging foliage has a bright red colour, a big contrast from the mature green foliage.
This actually makes the new growth look like flowers! Such a characteristic makes Photinia a very beautiful hedge plant for cottage gardens.
The more it is clipped the more red foliage will occur!
Bay is a well known evergreen shrub mainly for its aromatic leaves which are used in cooking.
However, Bay can also be used as an effective hedging plant in cottage gardens. This evergreen shrub has dark green, glossy foliage that can easily be clipped into boxes and other shapes.
As Bay comes from a Mediterranean climate position it in a sunny position in well drained soil.
10. Japanese Barberry
Also known by its Latin name, (Berberis thunbergii) is an ornamental shrub, with lobed, red, foliage.
Although Berberis is deciduous, it has a dense growing habit which makes it very suitable for hedging. During late summer this shrub is covered in small red barberries providing winter interest.
Berberis is very hardy and tolerant of most soils as long as they are well drained. They also prefer a slightly acidic soil.
Thank you for reading our article on cottage garden hedges. If you would like help building a cottage garden why not contact us.
Below we have included some other cottage garden articles you may find useful.
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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire