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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Shrubs in Ireland ... Hedging in Ireland

What exactly is a HEDGE

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:48 pm    Post subject: What exactly is a HEDGE Reply with quote

In gardening a hedge is a row of woody plants, generally of one species, used to demarcate spaces.
If a mixture of small trees and shrubs is used instead, to keep people and animals from straying through pasture or cropland, the result is a hedgerow.
Some hedgerows separating fields from lanes in Ireland and England are estimated to be over seven hundred years old.
The root word of 'hedge' is much older: it appears in Old English, in German (Hecke), and Dutch (haag) to signify 'enclosure', as in the name of the Dutch city The Hague, or more formal 's Gravenhage, meaning The Count's hedge. Most official Carolingian fortification were of wooden palisades, but Charles the Bald was complaining in 864 that some unauthorized men were constructing haies et fertés tightly-interwoven hedges of hawthorns (Rouche 1987 p 428).

Hedges may be clipped or unclipped.
Typical woody plants for clipped hedges include privet, hawthorn, beech, yew, leyland cypress, hemlock, arborvitae, barberry, box, holly, oleander, lavender, etc.
An early 20th century fashion was for tapestry hedges, using a mix of golden, green and glaucous dwarf conifers, or beech and copper beech.
Unclipped hedges take up more space, generally at a premium in modern gardens, but compensate by flowering.
Rosa multiflora is widely used as a dense hedge along median (central) strips of dual-carriageway roads, such as parkways in the United States.
In mild climates, more exotic flowering hedges are formed, using Ceanothus, Hibiscus or Camellia.

Hedges of clipped trees forming avenues are a feature of 16th century Italian gardens such as the Boboli Gardens in Florence, and of formal French gardens in the manner of André Le Nôtre, e.g. at Versailles.
The 'hedge on stilts' of clipped hornbeams at Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucestershire, is famous and has sometimes been imitated.

Hedges below knee height are generally thought of as borders.
Elaborately shaped and interlaced borders forming knot gardens or parterres were fashionable in Europe during the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Generally they were appreciated from a raised position, either the windows of a house, or a terrace.

Clipped hedges above eye level may be laid out in the form of a labyrinth or garden maze.
Few such mazes survived the change of fashion towards more naturalistic plantings in the 18th and 19th centuries, but many were replanted in 20th century restorations of older gardens.
An example is behind the Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Hedges and pruning can both be used to enhance a garden's privacy, as a buffer to visual pollution and to hide fences.

Apart from the hedges on stilts, there are many more local hedgelaying traditions.
Hedges are still being laid as they are not only beautiful and functional: they help the wildlife and protect against erosion.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License It uses material from the Wikipedia article

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday, I was defining the general difference between a hedge plant and a non-hedge plant, to someone.

A hedge plant is one over which the gardener has little if any control.

Growth is but out, and in, and out, and in, and out and in. A gardener is usually obligated to approach it with one main goal, which is reduce and contain.

Most often.

A non-hedge plant, like a tree and big shrub, has "leaders". When the branches and stems are thinned, a gardener can use the leaders to lead the plant in various directions.

A canopy can literally be shifted from point A to point B over a period of years. In this fashion, the gardener determines the outcome, and pruning intervals can be extended much longer.

Aside from general appearances, this is one of the main differences I see between sheared manicured hedges and correctively pruned and manipulated non-hedge plant material.

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