What to grow for evergreen hedges
Evergreen trimmed hedges add colour to the garden all the year round and provide permanent protection from inquisitive eyes as well as the wind. With their clear lines, they offer an interesting contrast to the colourful flowerbeds or a bed of ornamental grasses. It goes without saying that they can also be combined with topiary hedges. As a rule, trimmed hedges only comprise a single species of tree. They must be trimmed four times per year in order to maintain their shape and dense growth. Typical evergreen hedge plants are listed below.
The Lawson Cypress can grow to 60m in its native habitat. Sprays of scale-like leaves. Carmine-red male cones grow at the ends of the branches. The female cones have four pairs of shield-like scales. No other conifer grows in so many different forms.
Common Holly, English Holly
The Common or English Holly is an oblong large shrub or small tree with a confusing array of branches. The attractive pea-sized red berries are poisonous. The margins of young leaves are spiny. Hollies can grow up to 300 years old.
The Privet is a deciduous bush which may also be evergreen in mild climates; it is rarely found as a small tree growing to a height of 5 metres. It is only found in sunny shrubberies, light woodlands and borders on mostly calcareous soil. All parts are poisonous.
Christmas Tree, Norway Spruce
The Norway Spruce is a majestic conifer with a narrow conical habit. The sharp needles point forwards. The brown cones may be up to 20cm long. Spruces can grow to 600 years of age.
European Yew, Common Yew
The European Yew grows to medium height, has dark green needles and is readily pruned to any shape. The wood is heavy, hard and durable. All parts except the fleshy red fruit cups are extremely poisonous.
Giant Arborvitae, Western Red Cedar
In its native regions the Giant Arborvitae grows to heights of up to 60 metres. The branches of this tapering tree protrude irregularly outwards. It is ideal for larger hedges, as it changes colour only marginally. The scale leaves are pointed, ovate.
Common Box, European Box
The Common Box was the most important plant used for topiary hedges or living sculptures in the baroque period. It has become a favourite once again today, for it can easily be trimmed to any shape. The leaves are extremely poisonous.
The Cherry Laurel is a versatile tree or bush with oblong glossy laves and whitish flower clusters. It is a native of Southeast Europe where it often grows as underwood in light-flooded oak forests.