Saturday, August 31, 2013

Elements of NE Style: Hedges

Walkway Walls
I love hedges. Encountering ubiquitous hedges while living on Cape Cod and in England, I experienced them as living walls. They can define a space, shield you from the wind, screen out ugliness or create privacy. I think they are an element of New England design.
House Hedge
There are many different species of hedge plants but I think of only a few due to the time I spend on Cape Cod. The emerald arborvitae is evergreen, soft and can grow very high, but also susceptible to snow damage and deer nibbling; a good choice non-the-less for general purpose evergreen hedge. The Yew has poisonous berries but makes a nice hedge.

Cotswolds Yew Hedge
Here's video of trimming it

The deciduous north privet, though needing to be trimmed a few times every year, is my first choice overall due to density and ability to shape it in that you can do topiary with it. It's listed as invasive so if not already in your area, you may want to be consult your nursery to be sure it's okay ecologically. Only plant the fast growing privet if you can trim it regularly from all sides.
Knot Hedge
One way to plant a hedge using arborvitae as example is this. A good generic hedge choice site is this. Another generic hedge planting instruction is this.
Road Hedge
The largest hedge in the world is the Meikleour Beech Hedge in Scotland built in 1745 and over 98 feet tall. Hedges can define property lines or screen out your driveway and it's parked cars. Here's a classic shot of big pine tree hedges used as windblock in Japanese farms from Rudolfsky's "Architecture Without Architects":
 Shimane Prefecture Farm Hedges
You can also do cool topiary things with hedges.
Sculptural Hedge at Audley End

Here's a link to a nice blog entry on hedges in Nantucket.

Let's close with this:
Yew Hedge at Blickling
Is it a house or a hedge?

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