Formal Hedging Plants – Whether you are looking to delineate special areas or zones within a garden, create a smart boundary or looking for an architectural crisp and geometric garden, a well-manicured formal hedge will do all of these jobs admirably. The hallmark of a formal hedge is its neat, tightly clipped straight edges, key features in many famous gardens worldwide.
Creating these crisp clean edges takes work and time but gives an enormous amount of pleasure once trimmed, being very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. As well as providing a good formal boundary to a garden offering privacy and character, they can also provide a sharp back drop for informal planting often seen in cottage gardens.
When selecting the correct hedge plant for a formal hedge is important to consider the ultimate height you are looking to achieve and ensuring that the plant will take regular pruning well which is often required on a regular basis. Cutting straight edges by eye is not an easy thing to do and there are tricks to help such as, running a cane along the ground, putting stakes in at intervals along the hedge and even the use of a plumb line. When pruning the blades should always be kept parallel with the hedge, starting from the bottom of the hedge upwards so that the foliage falls away aiding in a smooth cut being achieved producing a neat outline.
For a really sharp looking formal hedge its best to choose a species with smaller leaves. Trim twice a year (or more if you have time!) for immaculate 'show garden' results - although once a year will still keep these plants looking great.
Morris Hankinson BSc (Hort)
Founder and Managing Director
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