If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.



Over the last few weekends -- say 20 hours work total -- I've laid over the first hedge I planted here -- about 50 yards of "native mix" with the hazel taken out and used elsewhere. It's gone well. I'll never be fast at that job -- I enjoy the looking much too well -- but it's a real eye opener to see how much easier it all goes when you don't have to spend time de-wiring. And it's interesting to see what other planting-time lessons there are to learn.

  • Rabbit guards are a must. The plants mostly survived, but I reckon they're a year or so back, and the ground-level damage makes them harder to split and bend over.
  • Ignore the supplier's sincere advice to plant these bare-rooted slips in a trench of tilled soil. Even six years on, the roots move when you strain the plants around the spiles. Slide them into the clay down the back of a spade and they'll be forced to set firm roots in the clay.
  • Another piece of gardening advice to avoid is to take the top of the slip off so that they bush out. A bush is useless -- you have to strip it all off when you lay. What you want is tall, spindly whips, so just leave them be.
  • Never plant blackthorn. Duh.
  • Don't plant briars with the rest of the hedge. Until it's laid over they just get in the way.
  • So the mix, if you don't fancy just hawthorn, would be five hawthorn, one spindle, one hazel and one fruiting tree depending on your taste -- mine would be beech. Then come back when you've laid it and put a dog briar in each of the gaps.

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