Plant a Hedge

We have been inspired by The St Albans Museum’s amazing Remarkable World of Trees Exhibition to launch an exciting brand new project. The exhibition runs from September 17th – January 23rd 2022, so its timing couldn’t be more perfect for planting trees and hedges. We are shamelessly taking advantage of this to encourage as many streets as possible to create a corridor of native hedges either between or at the bottom of their gardens this Winter.

To launch our Plant a Hedge project, we are planning an event from 3-5pm on October 16th 2021. This will involve taking a Wilderhood With group trip to the museum and then meeting up with Kate Bretherton, whose book The Remarkable Trees of St Albans, inspired the exhibition. We will then have the opportunity to talk to Kate and also Amanda Yorwerth from St Albans Friends of the Earth, over cake and coffee. If you would like to join in, please contact nadia@wilderhoodwatch.org.

Fences create barriers to wildlife which desperately needs access to gardens for food, water and habitat. Although this problem can be rectified by creating holes at the bottom of fences, this still doesn’t address the valuable energy a small mammal wastes finding the nearest exit or entrance. Fences also of course could never compete with trees and hedges in terms of habitat and food for birds, mammals and insects. And that’s without considering their ability to block out noise and pollution, sequester carbon and lift anyone’s spirits with their unsurpassable beauty.

To join in, here are a few pointers:

  • Consider children and pets. Hedges by their nature are porous, especially when newly planted. If this could be an issue for you, try investing in some wire fencing while your hedge is growing. And remember to leave some 13cm x 13cm gaps for wildlife!
  • Chat to your neighbours. Would they be happy to work with you to replace a few fence panels with some hedge plants? Or maybe your street would rise to the challenge of creating a long green corridor of hedge along the bottom of your gardens?
  • Consider your front garden as well as the back. Front gardens are visible from the road, and ideas can be catching!bl
  • Decide what you’d like to plant. Native trees such as hazel, dog rose, guelder rose, crab apple, hawthorn, blackthorn, elder, rowan and goat willow combined all make great hedging plants. If you’d like your hedge to be evergreen, choose holly, juniper, common ivy or yew. Privet, when left to flower, is also a big favourite for bees.
  • Think carefully about where to source your trees. Locally grown saplings are best, but the Woodland Trust is also an excellent option.
  • If you have gaps in an existing hedge, consider planting wildflowers such as primroses and foxgloves, as well as climbers such as honeysuckle and ivy.

Make a trip to the St Albans museum to see the Remarkable World of Trees exhibition, and become inspired to join in with our Plant a Hedge project. If your street would like to join in, please contact nadia@wilderhoodwatch.org so that you can be added to our website.