Hedge On The Edge


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Regular readers may recall my visiting a rather beautiful garden a couple of years ago and falling in love with a hedge. This is Derry Watkins’ magical creation at her home near Bath. It’s also the site of the Special Plants nursery, where I may have indulged in the odd purchase or two. Well it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?


Ever since that visit I’ve been hatching a plan which we started to work on last Spring. There is very little formal structure in the garden chez rusty duck. The setting lends itself to something wilder, more naturalistic. The terraced borders come as close as it gets to formality. And the lawn. Elsewhere the planted areas tend to be defined by the paths that crisscross the site or the natural breaks provided by the trees.


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But the relocation of the rhododendrons a couple of weeks back cleared the way for the final part of ‘Project Breakthrough’ and a rare bit of structural planting.


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Ta Daa!


The hedge may need to grow a bit, but it will be in the filling out rather than any great increase in height. It doesn’t have Derry’s sinuous curves, the geography sees to that. The drop from the lawn to the next level down is at least 10 feet which is an awful lot of imported soil had we chosen to properly round off the corner. The hedge is Lonicera nitida rather than box. Less refined. Possibly less trouble in this day and age with the threats of blight and, more recently, the box tree caterpillar. But perhaps most significantly it was free.

There is an abundance of lonicera here, our predecessor constructed a number of hedges from it. The challenge was in locating specimens at just the right stage. Mostly, because they’ve been allowed to run wild, the plants are woody. And the youngest, mere seedlings, lacking the presence required for the hedge. Plants in the Goldilocks zone were few and far between. But we just about found enough.


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Lonicera nitida


Working on the edge comes with its challenges. We both fell off. Mike by misplacing his footing, me by sliding down the slope on my stomach when the earth gave way. The latter may have been captured by the field camera which I’d set up for the deer. I haven’t dared look. It won’t be featuring on the blog.


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And then there was the inevitable “Oh sh..ย  crumbs” moment. We had originally intended to have the acer arising from the middle of the hedge. All the plants on one side of it were located into their holes, bedded in and watered until we reached a point about a metre from the tree. And then we hit the impenetrable rootball. Best laid plans and all that. The curve had to be realigned to about a foot beyond the trunk and the soil level built up. And even then I could only find enough root space for the seedlings. They will just have to grow and catch up.


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Last November


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Last April


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Next up, grass seed. It’s coming on.


Linking to Christina at My Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggersโ€™ Foliage Day. Click through to see what other gardeners are doing with foliage this month.


2017-10-27T09:44:01+00:00March 22nd, 2016|Tags: |


  1. Marian St.Clair March 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    I love your hedge and the new view that goes along with it. It’s an amazing, satisfying transformation!

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Often I don’t realise just how much has changed until I look at the ‘before’ and ‘after’s. When you witness each step in the making it doesn’t seem quite so much somehow. But it was so worth the year that it has taken.

  2. Jacqueline March 22, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Your’s is your’s and Derry’s is Derry’s ….. far better to do your own thing. It is looking really good already …. goodness, you both work so hard Jessica.
    I’ve had a tidy, have seen that the hostas are starting to peep through so have taken steps but you are on a different level !!!! It looks fantastic and I can’t wait to see it later in the year. Good job J & M. XXXX

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      It’s the time of year for the hard stuff. Gin. I like to get everything shifted in Spring if I can, then I’ve got the rest of the year to watch it grow.. in the right place. But I have to say the old bones and muscles are aching a tad!

  3. Backlane Notebook March 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I love a bit of garden re-design especially when using existing plants-it’s so satisfying. You are wise not to use box. I’m waiting to see what mine may or may not produce this Spring. We were keen (well one of us was) to try some new cutters and experimented on a box ball in November and it’s looked hideously blighted ever since. It may surprise us and start to burst into new life in April/May but I fear not and a re-think for the whole parterre will be necessary.

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      I feel exactly the same about using existing plants. Some of the healthiest specimens in the hedge I’ve had dug up for a year and have been growing on in a nursery bed. It’s cost me nothing except my time. I hope your box ball does surprise you, you never know.

  4. Christina March 22, 2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    HI Jessica, planting a hedge at the end of the slope is a marvelous idea! It will give that space definition and something for the eye to rest on. It looks good already, but will be great when the hedge has filled in. Well done! Can wait to see it when the grass is sowed in.
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      I think I read somewhere April is a good time for establishing grass seed, so we’ll do it then. Assuming we can keep all the feathered friends off of it! Thanks Christina.

  5. Pauline March 22, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    It’s going to be fantastic Jessica. Lonicera does need cutting more often than box, but I’m sure a hedge cutter will do it very quickly. Well done for using plants that were already in the garden, I do love free plants!

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure it would have been affordable any other way. We must have used 50 plants already and we’re not finished yet. Lonicera grows very fast. At least it will fill in quickly and we do have a hedge cutter. It’ll also be forgiving of any mistakes in getting the curve just right!

  6. wherefivevalleysmeet March 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    You are wise to avoid Box – we are busy digging ours out – three box balls per week at the moment – and it is heartbreaking. Your area is going to be a very attractive feature.

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Rosemary, it is heartbreaking. I can’t help feeling that many more of our much loved plants will be destined for the same fate with the climate changing as much as it is.

  7. kate@barnhouse March 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks to your judicious selection of the right young plants the hedge looks good already – even from a distance. I think you’ve got a nice curve there,, it will look amazing in no time at all. I like Lonicera nitida, not least because it’s meant to be deer proof (; . Now who could resist one or two of Derry’s special treasures?

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      Lonicera must be everything proof given that it grows so enthusiastically here! I found out today, in searching for yet more young plants, that it spreads in the same way as so many invasives. When a branch touches the ground it takes root. Where hedges have been planted in the past they have just spread outwards and ended up in some cases 8-10 feet thick!

  8. Cathy March 22, 2016 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    Whoohoo – what a difference already! It’s especially satisfying to be able to move plants around to a more satsfactory place, or at leat, that’s how I feel. I, and no doubt others, am disappointed you are not going to post photographic evidence of your sliding down the slope on your stomach… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I still haven’t dared look at the disc on the camera. Maybe tomorrow.. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Diana Studer March 22, 2016 at 10:15 pm - Reply

        I see a sinuous curve.
        With a huge bonus of a river below and beyond.
        Before and after makes the defining effect clear.

        I do wonder, what the camera trap saw … (and hope the bruises are fading)

        • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:04 pm - Reply

          It isn’t quite the rounded curve I’d have liked, but it’s near enough. I’m just glad to have finished the job now to be honest! And I forget to look at the camera disc. Doh..

  9. Jo March 22, 2016 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Jessica it’s looking really good, well done you. xx

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. It’s so satisfying when something turns out as you envisioned it, isn’t it?

  10. pbmgarden March 22, 2016 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Love your inspiration photo and the transformation you’ve made in your own garden.

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      Private gardens opened to the public are such a wonderful source of fresh ideas. The big set piece National Trust type places are all very well, but seeing something on a similar scale to your own, especially a garden created by someone as imaginative as Derry, really gets the grey cells firing.

  11. Denise March 22, 2016 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    I hate to tell you this, but Ptolemy is already in the editing suite with a couple of renegade squirrels getting ready to upload your slip ‘n’ trip to You Tube….

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      That’s Easter Sunday lunch sorted then.
      (Kidding. Probably.)

  12. ontheedgegardening March 22, 2016 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Firstly, I love Derry’s garden too. Secondly, this is going to look just amazing, I just know it! Well done, worth all the hard work.

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gill. I do hope so ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Freda March 22, 2016 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Good job! Just enough definition and contrast to emphasise the wilder look beyond. That looks exactly right there and you have a lovely curve on it. I do feel for Rosemary having to dig out her box balls. So far we are free of blight here…fingers crossed.

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      Fingers crossed indeed. What surprises me more than blight is the caterpillar. I only heard about it for the first time last year and already apparently the RHS has received more enquiries about it than any other pest, even slugs!

  14. Archie The Wonder Dog March 22, 2016 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a transformation!!

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks, it does make quite a difference doesn’t it?

  15. Alain March 22, 2016 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    It is going to be beautiful. It looks like it could have been called โ€˜Project Breakbackโ€™ rather than โ€˜Project Breakthroughโ€™!

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      You’re not wrong Alain ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Ann @Ann Edwards Photography March 22, 2016 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Lonicera looks like a pretty substitute for box and, as you say, less problematic. It must be satisfying to know that you have created something that didn’t cost anything (apart from blood, sweat and tears of course!)

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      We spent a little in getting in some help with shifting the larger shrubs and leveling the site. But no more than it would have cost to buy in all those hedge plants. And hopefully it will be a feature which will last for a good many years.

  17. FlowerAlley March 22, 2016 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Wow. What a lot of work. Looks great.

    • Jessica March 22, 2016 at 10:13 pm - Reply


  18. Bumbleandme March 22, 2016 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Wow Jessica, it looks amazing! hopefully you both came away unscathed by the impromptu slide down the bank! Gardening is so perilous. x

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      Gardening should be classed as an extreme sport I reckon. For you and me anyway! Thanks Hannah.

  19. CherryPie March 22, 2016 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    It is taking shape and looking great ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      Finished it today. What a relief!

  20. snowbird March 22, 2016 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    It certainly is coming on! It looks great, shame about the slithering on one’s stomach though…..but well worth it!xxx

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      There is a lot of loose soil on one side of the bank, where we’ve pulled out some old shrubs. You stand on something that looks solid.. and it isn’t.

  21. sadasilva March 23, 2016 at 1:54 am - Reply

    Obviously hardwork, but what a satisfying result. It’s going to look lovely once it gets established. You’ve made amazing progress!

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks. It does feel good to have got it all done so early in the season. The weather’s going downhill too, but at least the plants will now get a proper watering in.

  22. Kris P March 23, 2016 at 2:33 am - Reply

    What a tremendous amount of work! And how enterprising to dig up seedlings on your own property. I look forward to seeing it fill out.

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      Probably easier than digging up a lawn. Two lawns. But we did dig up and replant 71 lonicera and then moved some of them as well. I need to find out what it would have cost to buy all those plants.

  23. Beth @ PlantPostings March 23, 2016 at 2:34 am - Reply

    Tee hee … oh sorry, I chuckled at your expense. But obviously I’m glad you weren’t injured! I LOVE your view and the edge work is lovely. It’s so fun to follow your progress with your garden!

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks Beth. We both slid around again a lot today. We’ve filled in the last gap and finished the hedge. But there were very few footholds for that bit!

  24. Jackie March 23, 2016 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Wow! Just Wow.

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jackie. It’s a good feeling when the imagined effect turns into reality.

  25. Helen Cronin March 23, 2016 at 8:14 am - Reply

    oooh! That really is gardening on the edge! But it is going to be so worth it. I can just imagine sitting on your lawn. Whilst Lonicera nitida can look untidy it also responds so well to clipping/pruning that I am sure that your hedge will soon be as lovely as Derry’s

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Hi Helen and welcome.
      It certainly looks untidy where it’s been left to run wild here. Lots of twiggy branches, bare at the bottom, all desperately trying to get their fair share of light. I’ve had to use some woody specimens but I’m thinking if I prune out some of those stems as the plants re-shoot I can gradually rejuvenate them. I hope it works!

  26. derrickjknight March 23, 2016 at 9:30 am - Reply

    This is such an amazing project. Oh, do post your slide ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      I was going to look today to see if the camera had captured anything. Honestly I was. I don’t know how I came to forget.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  27. Christina March 23, 2016 at 10:17 am - Reply

    You seriously worried me when you said both you and Mike had fallen down the slope! Even a low hedge should stop any visitors doing the same thing inadvertently. A little formality only adds the naturalness of the garden so I’m sure you’ve made a good decision. .

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Fortunately with all the loose soil it’s a relatively soft landing. I’m hoping the carefully clipped hedge will emphasise the wildness of what lies beyond, that was exactly the idea. Thanks Christina.

  28. justjilluk March 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Just amazing. !

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Oh my knees though! Thanks Jill.

  29. Erin @ The Impatient Gardener March 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Well I can see why you fell in love with that garden; it’s stunning. I love your new hedge, but that is some kind of extreme gardening you’re doing there when you’re falling off the slope (please do check that trail camera footage). I love what you’ve done here.

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Erin and welcome.
      It does feel pretty extreme I have to admit. There are very few flat areas, mostly the garden slopes at about 45 degrees. It’s hard enough just to keep standing up, let alone dig holes. The very steep bits I’m trying to keep as low maintenance as possible!!

  30. frayed at the edge March 23, 2016 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Don’t be silly, of course we have to see your sliding down the slope on your stomach (not that we would submit it to one of those tv programmes that goes for cheap laughs at people’s misfortunes!!)
    Oh – and the hedge is looking good!!

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Of course you wouldn’t Anne. That must be why I forget to check the camera today to see if there was anything on it… ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Amy at love made my home March 23, 2016 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Looking really good!! xx

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks Amy. I’m exhausted now. Almost grateful for a few rainy days. Almost..

  32. joturner57 March 23, 2016 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing…It really does define the area, and gives a nice boost of structure. Serendipitously, earlier today was reading something by Christopher Lloyd, re L. nitita. Said to cut 2 and even 3 times a year for best results. In this case, to make them nice and dense, could be worth a good chop as soon as you see new growth. Looks like a delightful garden! Shall look forward to future posts about how things develop : )

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      It’s hard to believe now that this place was overgrown and in places virtually impenetrable when we started out. A lot of it still is. But tackling a little bit each year is gradually paying off. Thanks for the tip re Lonicera. What worries me as well today is reading about the possible extinction of Ash. It would take out maybe as much as half of the wood. ๐Ÿ™

  33. willow March 23, 2016 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    I think the hedge looks great – I like a touch of formality to contrast against natural planting. My garden is small and I like natural planting but I do make sure that I make sure that the edges of the lawn are crisp, a similar approach I think.

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      We mowed the lawn today for the first time this year and it’s amazing the difference it makes, especially if you also clip the edges. It remains to be seen how easy it will be to maintain a clean edge abutting a hedge but no doubt we’ll find out in due course! Thanks Willow.

  34. Tina March 23, 2016 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    A beautiful layout and the hedge is a wonderful addition. Be careful out there….

    • Jessica March 23, 2016 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Hi Tina, thanks and welcome.
      The garden has three distinct levels to it so on the plus side I can’t fall very far. I wouldn’t half mind a Texan climate though.. I can’t grow anything nearly as exotic as you can. And no anoles.. ๐Ÿ™

  35. Suzanne March 24, 2016 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Just wow! You must be so pleased.

    • Jessica March 24, 2016 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks Suzanne. It turned out pretty much as I hoped it would, or at least it will if the hedge thickens up.

  36. Growing Nicely (@JillAgardens) March 24, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

    That’s looking very good! I like hedges too, and Lonicera nitida is a good choice

    • Jessica March 24, 2016 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jill. I hope I am not forever cutting it back. I also guessed the distances but looking online today a foot apart is about right. Phew!

  37. Wendy March 24, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

    The hedge is already looking great and I look forward to seeing it mature. I haven’t had any luck with box and had to abandon that idea for my garden. The lonicera seems to be a much better idea and how satisfying for you that it came for free!

    • Jessica March 24, 2016 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Just out of interest I looked up how much 71 plants would have cost me to buy. Using an online bulk hedging supplier and plants of about the same size as I had I could get a deal on 75 for.. ยฃ400!

  38. steph March 24, 2016 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    loved seeing your inspiration and how you are incorporating the look…..I had to download that inspiration photo….there is just something about it that I think can be used in my backyard…and at the moment I can’t figure out quite what. not the hedge…maybe the cottage plantings and grasses? or maybe just simply those great chairs!!! (I always do more sitting than digging in the garden!)

    • Jessica March 24, 2016 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      The whole place was a total inspiration. Derry gardens on a hill as well and the way she has used the levels to good effect was a delight to see. Mike, on the other hand, can confirm that the chairs were very comfortable indeed!

  39. AnnetteM March 24, 2016 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    That is an amazing transformation – well done! I hope you don’t plan to have any wild parties on that lawn though – that slope looks very dangerous. Maybe you should put something soft at the bottom. Lonicera is a very useful shrub isn’t it. I think you will be able to tidy it up really well. I have a couple of lighter coloured ones dotted about the garden. They take pruning very well.

    • Jessica March 24, 2016 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      We seem to have a bit of colour variation too, a few are almost silver. I’m wondering if it’s because some were growing in shade and some in sun, in their original locations. Hopefully it will all come right on the night. If not, cuttings are easy enough to take.

  40. pagedogs March 24, 2016 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Isn’t it satisfying to transform a landscape? I love the inspiration photo–what a beautiful space. But when you create your own space, it’s even better. Especially when you run into hiccups, like your maple, and find a solution that makes it even more your own.

    • Jessica March 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      It certainly is. The garden was claustrophobic when we first took it on. A little bit of lawn surrounded by too tall trees, dark and shady. We may never have the big skies and wide vistas that I’d love, but it’s a whole lot better.

  41. Linda March 24, 2016 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Looks great! I well remember that visit to Derry Watkins as I bookmarked it and have “revisited” her garden many times since.

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      It’s a great garden. But what I love most about it are the parallels to my site here. Always useful to see how others have dealt with similar challenges.

  42. germac4 March 25, 2016 at 12:25 am - Reply

    You and Mike are an inspiration, you are both doing a tremendous job on such a big area. I’m spurred on by your energy and off to plant some bulbs for our spring. I look forward to seeing your garden in summer…

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gerrie. I have to admit energy has been flagging the last couple of days. We’re in the midst of a storm system now, from the gardeners’ point of view perhaps no bad thing!

  43. bittster March 25, 2016 at 12:57 am - Reply

    I absolutely love it! I admit I have a bias towards hedging, but for that spot it really seems to be a perfect match. What a transformation that area has undergone over the year, I wish my garden would come along as quickly ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      Thanks. It’s good to get that job done, especially as it will result in a much lower maintenance area of the garden. Apart from the hedge clipping… just mowing!

  44. threadspider March 25, 2016 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Congratulations on that very pleasing hedge and landscaped lawn. I know just the inspiration point you mean in Derry’s garden too. You have done wonders in the garden on that difficult site so I hope a well deserved Easter egg washed down with a glass of something is on the horizon. Cheers

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      I think you can safely say the Easter egg and glass of something boxes have been ticked. And let’s not forget the sticky toffee hot cross buns. Well, we burnt off a few calories! Thanks.

  45. Susan Garrett March 25, 2016 at 11:28 am - Reply

    It will look great once it fills out but take care when clipping. You’re being a bit of a spoilsport not showing the out-takes though.

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      I’ve looked at the camera footage now and (un)fortunately it was pointed just a little too far away from the slope. Ah well… ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Brian Skeys March 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Derry Watkins garden is a real inspiration. I think what you have done is a good interpretation ideally suited to your site.

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks Brian. The challenge now will be to keep it low enough to edge the lawn but not destroy the feeling of openness we’ve worked so hard to create.

  47. Anna March 25, 2016 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Oh glad to read that there was no serious damage done when you both went a cropper. Lonicera nitada seems to be pest free in our garden but an absolute ****** if you ever want to remove it. If that situation ever arises Jessica make sure that you are firmly anchored to the ground before you start any work.

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      I’ve noticed that it does tend to wander. In many of the places where it has previously been planted it has migrated down the slope. Anywhere the tips of the branches touch the ground they take root. The trick will be to remove them whilst they’re still young!

  48. Marianne March 26, 2016 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Personally I far prefer Lonicera nitida in your setting, with the bonus of not having to worry about box blight etc, also box needs to be maintained rigorously otherwise the effect is spoiled, think of the work and effort! Not worth it with your large garden, and the freeer growth of the bushes will fit in so much better in your landscape.
    Which part of your house has the view over the ‘lawn’? Sorry still not caught up with all your previous blogs, not too familiar with layouts and things chez rusty duck.
    I used about 500 whips to plant our natural hedge in my previous garden in france, and it took 5 years to grow into a good hedge, I expect yours to do it much quicker as the young plants are so much more established already.
    The other major advantage of your hedge of course is that it will help stop soil erosion there, looking forward to see it blossoming..metaphorically speaking!

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 2:12 pm - Reply

      Stopping soil erosion is going to be an important factor in that spot… says she looking out at the torrential rain and hoping I don’t lose all the hedge before the week is out!
      The cottage is centrally positioned within the site so it makes it a rather odd layout in that there is no ‘front’ and ‘back’. Have a look at the page entitled ‘Map’ (there’s a tab for it on the header). There’s a drawing there which should help. Directly below the house are the terraced borders, then a patio and then the section of lawn which has the low hedge around it. Looks like I will now need to amend the master drawing and update the page! Most of the house windows face this direction.

  49. Indie March 26, 2016 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Wow that’s some impressive gardening on the edge of that drop there! Extreme gardening indeed! I love your hedge. It’s going to look awesome all grown up!

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm - Reply

      The tricky part was finding footholds, especially when filling in the soil around the back of the hedge. We’ve tried to leave a bit of a gap behind it to aid with trimming, but to get something approximating a curve some of the plants are right on the edge. That’s the bit where I slid off!

  50. Island Threads March 26, 2016 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    I liked the duck story and agree they do look rather domestic, plenty of wild geese here, I think they are Greylag geese,

    your hedge looks good already and there is little better than volunteers, leaves more money for the special plants, Frances

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      I calculated how much it would have cost me to get 71 plants that size.. ยฃ400. I think I would have been banned from buying anything else for.. years!

      • Island Threads March 27, 2016 at 1:51 pm - Reply

        ๐Ÿ™‚ of course you could say you have just saved ยฃ400 ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Jessica March 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm - Reply

          I did try! ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Jo March 26, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    It’s looking good. I think you’ve made a wise decision using lonicera nitida, I’d be too worried to use box for a large amount of planting with box blight around.

    • Jessica March 26, 2016 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Knowing my luck it would just be getting established when the blight hit it. But the big bonus from the Lonicera was that it was free. It was a real pain going around and digging up 71 plants, but the project wouldn’t have been affordable otherwise.

  52. homeslip March 26, 2016 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Lonicera nitida should romp away and like yew it grows out of old wood so ideal for your purpose. Margery Fish has an informative section on lonicera nitida hedges in “We Made A Garden”. I use it as an edging along with holly for a wild area that marks the divide between garden and a woodland shaw which we planted in 1991 and which comprises ash, beech and oak in equal measure. Ash dieback is a worry. My son surveyed all the trees on the Polesden estate and Ranmore Common in 2012/2013 and everywhere was clear then. I have the “ashtag” app on my phone for logging anything suspicious. Happy Easter Jessica, hope you’re enjoying the rain and the rest, I know I am!

    • Jessica March 28, 2016 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      It’s frustrating not being able to get outside, but even if the rain is no good for the gardener I rest easy in the knowledge that all the plants I’ve recently moved will be loving it!

  53. casa mariposa March 26, 2016 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    WOW!! You are a gardening superhero!! I love the new look. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessica March 28, 2016 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Tammy. Less superhero, I sometimes think more deluded fool!

  54. Jayne Hill March 26, 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Good grief! And folk have the cheek to say I never stop . . . you and Mike deserve medals (or at least large G&Ts and very deep baths!). Picture 6 is my favourite (excluding the shot of Derry’s garden), because it really shows the scale and severity of your contours. The lonicera is an excellent choice and is going to look outstanding in a year or two (I’ve been surprised here at how fast it grows).

    I see what you mean about aching bones, you definitely deserve a rest :-}

    • Jessica March 28, 2016 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      It does grow very fast. Which presumably means it will need trimming a lot. But at least it will get to mature hedge stage quickly. I can almost seeing it growing in this rain.

  55. Christine Morrison March 27, 2016 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful job, all that hard work has paid off in spades. Congrats.

    • Jessica March 28, 2016 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Christine, thank you and welcome!
      It’s such a good job to get done and so early in the season. Now I can look forward to watching it grow. ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Amy March 27, 2016 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    It’s looking wonderful, you brave woman (and Mike)! And no doubt the hedge will be very useful to keep gardeners and guests from falling off the battlements… umm… slope! I hadn’t realized how much slope you have in that part of the garden too – silly me ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s such a shame about the box, but I love the looks of your Lonicera.

    • Jessica March 28, 2016 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Yes, the site is seriously challenging. Now I need to think about what goes on that slope. Nothing too tall, lots of ground cover candidates I reckon.

  57. Josephine March 28, 2016 at 1:42 am - Reply

    Brilliant ! You can certainly see the progress, and the intended structure is coming along nicely.
    Can’t wait to see in a few months, a pat on the back to both of you !

    • Jessica March 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. We’re getting a lot of rain at the moment. They may be five foot high at this rate before we can get out again and clip them!

  58. Dorothy Borders March 29, 2016 at 4:44 am - Reply

    I came late to your post, but I’m glad I finally found it. Wow! What a transformation! It looks great and in a few months it will only look more fantastic. Congratulations on the results of all your planning and hard work.

    • Jessica March 29, 2016 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dorothy. It has been a long time in the planning and getting all the ducks in a row, but I am pleased with the result.

  59. Janet/Plantaliscious March 29, 2016 at 8:20 am - Reply

    That’s inspired Jessica, it really defines the space, and the formality will enhance the wonderful wildness of the area beyond. And help deter people from venturing to close to that side… I still think you should post the video of your descent…

    • Jessica March 29, 2016 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Janet. Sadly (or not!) I’ve now looked at the field cam and it was angled just a little too far away from the slope ????

  60. Donna@Gardens Eye View March 29, 2016 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    What a difference the clearing has made and now this edge….I love the look…open, inviting and formal…yet still a bit wild.

    • Jessica March 29, 2016 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks Donna, that is exactly what I was aiming for!

  61. welshhillsagain March 29, 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    I am a big fan of lonicera nitida. It grows here when so much else won’t, is neat and strong and can be cut back fiercely and doesn’t care, and, as you say, no box blight. What a big undertaking though. I salute you both.

    • Jessica March 29, 2016 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you’ve found lonicera cuts back well, the success of the hedge rather depends on that! It is a relief to get the job out of the way. You know how it is, one thing leads to another. Shrubs pulled out have to be found new homes and before you’ve time to catch your breath there’s twice the work you thought there’d be.

  62. Rick Nelson March 30, 2016 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Lonicera nitida great choice rd, why ask for trouble!

    • Jessica March 31, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

      It’s such a shame about box. English gardens will never be the same ๐Ÿ™

  63. Sue April 5, 2016 at 10:43 am - Reply

    That will look amazing once it’s had time to grow. It’s always nice to have a tiny little bit of formality in a garden isn’t it as it’s very restful on the eyes.

    Are you really, really sure we can’t see the film of you sliding down the bank? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jessica April 6, 2016 at 10:47 am - Reply

      I’ve checked, the camera was angled slightly away from the bank, there is no film ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought the wild garden framed by formal hedge would look good, hope it works!

  64. Chloris April 6, 2016 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    A good choice. Lonicera nitida makes a great hedge and looks really good when it is kept well clipped. My goodness, the work you get done always amazes me.
    Lucky you living near Derry Watkins, she has some fabulous plants.

    • Jessica April 6, 2016 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      I wish we were nearer to Derry, she and her wonderful nursery are over two hours away. I must check if she does mail order.

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