When my family moved to the UK, we had our first proper garden both back and front. I remember having privet hedges between the houses and in late spring you could hear the clip clip clip of the shears. These days we have more fences and walls. If someone asked me to choose between a fence and a hedge, the hedge would win. Why? Because hedges provide instant greenery, they help to reduce noise, dust and slow down wind. They also provide habitat for birds which are great for the garden.

Late autumn is the perfect time to be planting hedges. The plants are a little cheaper as they are available as bare root or rootball. Here are five of my favourite hedging plants.


Prunus lusitanica Angustifolia

An evergreen hedge with deep green leaves on reddish purple stems. It has a formal look but is softer in look that Yew. In early summer it bears racemes of little white flowers which are scented. These are followed by small dark purple fruit. It is not a fussy plant and can be planted in any aspect and any type of moist but well drained soil. Can grow over 12 meters tall but can easily be maintained at a manageable height.

Taxus baccata

Commonly known as English Yew. A slow growing plant that is often used in formal gardens as it can be kept very compact. It is evergreen with dark green needle like leaves. The female plants produce red berries. It can be positioned in any aspect and soil type, but it hates having wet roots so good drainage is important. Can grow over 12 meters but can be maintained to a manageable height. The wonderful thing about Taxus baccata is that you can also topiarise it and create interesting shapes.

Griselinia littoralis

A fast growing evergreen hedge that has broad ovate leaves that are apple green in colour. The stems have a yellow tinge to them. It grows best in full sun and performs well to clipping. Position in a south or west facing aspect. Griselinia prefers well drained soil. It is the perfect coastal hedge being able to tolerate salt spray. Can grow up 8 meters tall but easily manageable at lower heights.

Carpinus betulus

Commonly known as Hornbeam. An excellent deciduous hedge. The leaves look like Beech but are smaller, pointed at the tip, serrated at the edges and deeply furrowed giving them a pleated look. Not fussy about aspect but prefers moist well drained soil. Grow over 12 meters but can be managed at a lower height. Good for nesting birds.

Elaeagnus x ebbingei

An average to fast growing evergreen hedge with dark green leaves that have a silvery underside. Elaeagnus x ebbingei is also shade tolerant. Grow it as an informal hedge. Tolerates dry soils and salt laden winds. Can also withstand temperatures down to -15. The best part of this hedge is the small creamy-white flowers that appear between October and November which have the most beautiful fragrance.

Judith Sharpe Garden Design

Vitex Garden World