it has been a while since I wrote anything, and as my Hostas turn autumnal, my thoughts turn to other things. Incidentally they are going down early this year, the Hostas, as they were up very early. Anyone else noticed any plants turning early?
Anyway, I was walking past a batch of Eleagnus X Ebbingei the other day, and realised what a good plant it is for a smart hedge. Everybody seems completely blinkered on laurels and Leylandii, which is a pity, as there are so many good alternatives. You can use pretty much anything that can be pruned to be bushy as a hedge, including all sorts of bizarre plants, Tsuga canadensis is surprisingly good, as are cedars. But Eleagnus X Ebbingei is a favourite of mine. It clips very well, and has a lovely silvery or bronzy appearance when recently cut. It will grow in pretty sparse soils. It doesn't suffer from aphids, mildew, shot hole, it is properly evergreen, and of course is possibly the most pleasantly scented plant in the garden at this time of year. If you haven't discovered this, go and find one, now, and see what you think.
Of course I like native hedges best, in their proper environment, all the little life cycles going on in there, everything eating the hedge and each other. And I do like the golden autumn colour of field maple. When I put in a native hedge I usually keep it to hawthorn, blackthorn and field maple as these knit together well, grow at a similar pace, create a good barrier and are very good for a wide range of wildlife. Other local, native plants will quickly make their way in. Hops are a plant I love to see flowering in a hedge, but that could be related to my enjoyment of proper beer. A lot of the native hedges in our area are actually elm, which still thrives here, but reproduces from root suckers, they never get big enough to flower before elm disease gets them. Perhaps one day a resistant form will evolve naturally.