A long-standing customer called recently having suffered the misfortune of a drunken driver bringing his speeding van to a halt on top of their front garden fence in the wee small hours. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and they were well insured. Having done the sums, they realised that they could replace the fence with a hedge for less than the cost of another fence. The insurance company duly agreed. But what to plant for his new front garden hedge?
Their bungalow is on a quiet road (at least when vans aren’t careering down it) so neither security nor privacy was of particular importance. Some years ago we supplied plants for a formal Hornbeam hedge in his back garden – it’s a little too wet for Yew – and so the new front hedge was an opportunity to do something a little more flamboyant.
We whittled the options down to:
Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ AGM
(Pictured bottom) This adaptable, versatile, easy-to-maintain and dense-growing shrub has delicate, glowing foliage. It grows into a mound of bowing branches covered in small dainty leaves. As my client’s front garden enjoys full sun, the foliage will achieve its yellowy blond potential.
Photinia Red Robin (Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’)
(Pictured top) The fashionable choice for a glossy, vibrant and striking hedge. Its new growth is a strong, deep red which slowly matures to a shiny dark green. With early trimming, a thick hedge is easily achieved and maintained. The more Photinia Red Robin is cut, the more the vibrant red shoots appear.
Escallonia macrantha rubra
 (Pictured middle) This fast-growing, reliable and highly decorative flowering shrub offers glossy green leaves and a floral display that lasts from summer through autumn.
After discussion with the rest of the family (to which I was not party), 10 Photinia Red Robins were duly ordered. It must have been a close-run thing as they also ordered a couple of Escallonia macrantha rubras for growing as specimen plants in the back garden.