Gardening Week 11th July – 17th July
As I walked down the street this week I knew that regardless of all the rain we have had, the scent of summer has definitely finally arrived. Now what scent do I mean? Well, in a street lined with well kept gardens you are unlikely to find this summer scent, but I am (un)fortunate to live in a neighbourhood where many of my neighbours hardly tend to their gardens and that brings about the lovely scent of summer. If you still have not caught on what I mean, – I am referring to the lovely pungent fragrance from the common hedge. If you cut your hedge regularly, it will not reach the flowering stage but if you go slow on the hedge cutting for the first few months of the year, you will be rewarded with striking white flowers grown in profusion at this time of the year. My wife is a perfectionist and has to have our hedge cut to a knife edge every few weeks, but I have a little corner in the back garden where I only cut the front of the hedge and leave the back of the hedge to grow upwards just until this time of the year so that I can have this summer smell waft through my garden.
Flower of the week from YOUR garden to YOUR table: 11th July – 17th July.
Botanical Name: Ligustrum. Common Name: Privet
Most people buy their houses with the hedges already there, but if you are thinking of growing a new hedge, I think privet is still a good choice. However, since the privet hedge needs cutting many times during the growing season many people have turned to different varieties of hedges.
Just to name a few; leylandii (Cupressocyparis Leylandii) became popular around thirty years ago . Its lovely conifer fronds coerced people in surrounding their gardens with leylandii, but to their misery they were soon to learn that if not pruned and cut regularly it grows so quickly (up to 1m. a year), and becomes a giant of a tree in no time. Their small saplings soon shaded their garden to a point of no return. Another option is a beech hedge; lovely copper leaves in the summer but you have to appreciate the brown shrivelled leaves rustling in the wind as they cling to the tree during winter, with you privacy temporary exposed. So I still prefer the privet, it does take a few years to establish itself but after that it is so adaptable, you can train it to whatever height and shape you want with ease.
You don’t need to let them grow wild in your garden for internal decoration as people with untidy hedges really don’t mind if others trim their hedges for them, and so there is no shortage of flowers for your vase!
Buying and Growing guide: The time to begin a new hedge is not now but in autumn. The smaller the plant the cheaper it will be but the longer it will take to get established. It is not good practise to plant sapling taller than 80cm. as they often don’t transplant as well as the younger bushes. The back of gardening magazines during autumn, always have a good selection of hedge suppliers. J. Parker’s mail order company have just mailed their Autumn Catalogue with 50 privet trees for under £40. If you want to experiment you can cut some semi ripe twigs (from someone’s untidy hedge again), and insert them in a good soil mix in a cold frame at this time of the year – keep well watered and a good proportion should become your free saplings!
Even during the first few years before it reaches the desired height, remember to constantly trim lightly to induce bushiness.
TIP for a NO LADDER PRIVACY HEDGE.
Usually a privet hedge is chosen for ultimate privacy. To stop passing by pedestrians peering into your garden the hedge has to be at least 2 metres high. A common problem is then incurred. To keep the top of the hedge trimmed flat, one needs to stand on a ladder to reach this height which can be bothersome, especially on uneven ground. An easy option is to train the hedge with an apex cross section with a slant on either side reaching to a point. The hedge can then be trimmed with the hedge cutter on a slant from shoulder height without the need for a step ladder!
Money saving tip:
Notcutts garden centres are now selling off all seeds at half price. With the expiry date on most seed packets being around 2019 it makes sense to stock up now.
Although I thought that seeds are not a great percentage of a gardener’s expenditure list – but when I saw T & M cucumber mini munch priced at 4 seeds @ £3.99 – then maybe seeds at half price is something to invest in!
Enjoy your gardening week!
Next Week : Filling in the vertical gaps in your garden.