Walking round the estate I was struck by how bare some of the hedges are.

Shouldn’t they have a thick covering of green leaves?

After all, isn’t privet an evergreen? Well not exactly. Books generally describe it as semi-evergreen and tell us that it loses leaves in wind and frost. So perhaps the variation in leafiness depends on being in a sheltered or exposed position. I think this has a lot to do with it, but is this the whole story? The variety or the

cultivation might play a part. Surprisingly the privet of garden hedges is not usually our native common privet, Ligustrum vulgare but the oval-leaf privet from Japan, Ligustrum ovalifolium. Only in a few instances are the hedges in adjoining gardens so different in amount of leaf that I suspect they are not the same variety. As for cultivation, I wonder whether some were trimmed after the growing season from April to September, so an abundance of new leaves did not have time to grow before the cold weather set in. I also wonder if there is a problem with constantly trimming to the same size, so that new wood does not have a chance to grow. My father, who was never timid when it came to pruning, periodically drastically reduced the thickness (one year on one side and the following year on the other) and height of his hedge. This allowed the growth of new wood. Even today after 70 years the hedge still looks healthy.
On the estate we must have many people very experienced in care of privet hedges and they are invited to contribute an article to the next Newsletter.

Incidentally, this is what the Design Guidance has to say: “Landscaped front gardens with and without boundary hedges are an important feature of the Bassett Green Estate. This mixture of open and planted frontages reinforces the garden suburb character of the estate and for this reason the enclosure of front gardens with new walls and fences will be discouraged. Sections of dying or diseased hedges should be grubbed out and replanted with original species

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. Login »