Internal division hedges in a garden are sometimes desirable for the purpose of outlining the sections without completely screening them. A hedge of lavender round a sunk garden serves as a frame to this feature, and gives a feeling of privacy without interfering with the view across it. A low hedge sometimes takes the place of a stone or wooden balustrade along the terrace wall, or one may be used to separate the entrance path from the lawn so that visitors are not encouraged to wear a track across the grass.
These low hedges vary in type just as do the taller ones. They can be quite informal, as when lavender is used and allowed to flower freely, or they can be strictly formal, as for instance a hedge of clipped box. Lavender, rosemary, dwarf polyantha roses, veronicas of several species, and ericas, also of several species, are useful subjects for this type of hedge. The plants should be small when set out—generally about 9 in. high—and should be no more than 1 ft. apart for the best results.
The trim formal type of hedge requires clipping frequently all through the spring, summer and early autumn. It is a mistake to clip hedges too late in the season. Sometimes it is actually harmful to the plants, sometimes it leaves them with bare cut stems showing all winter, and either way it is unsatisfactory. Cypress hedges, which can be extremely useful, since they reach a sufficient height to give real privacy, are particularly susceptible to late pruning, and no cutting back should be done later than August.
Flowering hedges, as a rule, need one qr at most two prunings annually—to prune more often would mean the loss of a season’s flowers. Flowering and fruiting (i.e., berrying) hedges rarely need much regular pruning at all, and certainly do not need the secateurs more than once during the year. It is obvious that flowering and berrying hedge subjects are labour saving as well as more decorative than strictly formal hedges.
One other point that concerns choice of hedging, and also pruning. If a quick growing subject is chosen, it will want more pruning than if a slow grower is planted, for obvious reasons.
When Should You Plant Hedges?
The new gardener generally asks for one more item of information concerning hedges—when is the best time to plant? As a rough guide, September, April and May are good months for planting evergreens, and the winter months between them for planting deciduous shrubs. But hedging plants are generally pretty hardy, and often can be purchased in pots. Also, as they are only small when planted, they can be kept moist overhead by the use of a hose or watering can. Therefore it is quite possible, if care is taken, to plant a hedge at almost any season except high summer, with reasonable prospect of success, and the garden maker is well advised to get to work on boundary hedges, at least, as his first job on the plot.