Monty Don talks hedging with passion and in this second selection of his thoughts on a key gardening element, we find out more about why he is so keen…

Autumn Planting at Hedge Xpress


Beech 1.5m

£29.95 exc. VAT


“I love the geometry and patterns of a winter garden and have deliberately planted lots of hedges in my own garden for that reason. Hedges do not have to be four-square.

 “A hedge can have curves and swoops; it can even twist and wobble, and just as easily snake and bend, as march in a straight line.

The important thing is to get the height right in relation to the space that it contains. Most hedges, as a rule, are too low.

Just as a high ceiling tends to improve the proportions of a room, so high hedges make a garden seem bigger and more beautiful.

And as an added bonus, the higher and longer your hedges, the more bird life you will have in the garden.

Within the garden, a hedge creates defined spaces that have their own micro-climate; it will baffle the wind better than any solid barrier and provides the perfect backdrop for flowering plants.

My internal dividing hedges vary from 2-6m (6-20ft) in height. I use hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) because it thrives in our heavy soil, but Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is ideal in lighter soils.

Both beech and hornbeam keep a substantial proportion of their leaves throughout winter, turning a russet in the case of beech and milky coffee for hornbeam.

This becomes an important feature in the winter garden.

Both are ideally cut twice a year, in July and again in February to keep them crisp, but one trim in late summer will suffice.”

Monty Don talks hedging with great enthusiasm including raising that perennial hedging question: Hornbeam or Beech? It’s a topic we covered HERE though he comes to a more unequivocal conclusion elsewhere – as we will discover in our next post…

Monty Don’s many books and DVDs are available online and in the high street.