The landscapers are planting whips like anything right now. Whips are twigs to you and me. The cheapest are 20 to 30 centimetres in height which seems like a slow start in the first days of the life of a hedge.
But rest assured; small will catch up with much larger sizes. There is nothing like a dose of Rootgrow and well prepared ground. Also don’ t you love it that in the dead cold days such promise is going into the ground? In the future these twigs will become green screens and part of the ‘hard landscaping’ of the garden. Honorary walls, if you will, without the bricklayer or the cost involved.
Enough of walls though. Over the past months hedges have been marching out in new couture shapes. Well, I guess they were always there but somehow they have caught my eye. De Wirtz and Piet Oudolf have been at it for years and any visitor to the Duchess of Northumberland’s grand gardens at Alnwick will be familiar with the hedges of the catwalk.
For my part, a visit to Le Jardin Plume in Normandy last September was seminal. We stepped through a gap in the hedge and off the stubble field into a haven of mass grass plantings and exuberant perennials, kept in check by the clipped restraint of yew and box.
Take the table of box say 4 metres square which breaks the mood from the typical french farmhouse house with vinous pergola to a Trance Party of autumn dancing perennials. The owners are clever horticulturalists doing their thing, knowing their ‘building materials” of plants both perennials and clipped hedging. Balls, jelly moulds, clouds, tables and dragon’s back. The shape of the hedging in my mind. The design and layout is perfect, apt, clever, affordable.
For design approach and the treatment of plants I was completely shifted sideways by the morning I spent at Le Jardin Plume. It was inspirational and word defying. I’ll let the images tell the story,.