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Plant Types : Hedges


A hedge is a line of trees or shrubs planted close together and clipped to shape; it can be of any height or width. Many kinds of trees and shrubs are suitable; hedging species only need to be capable of branching when clipped.

Topiary is the related practice of clipping trees, or shrubs, to individual shapes and it can be very effective. A shrub or tree can be clipped into any desired shape – cones, pyramids, spheres, as well as animal shapes, urns, even tea-pots! In recent times, there has been some interest in creating abstract shapes using this very old technique.


A hedge can be used to mark garden boundaries, and to provide privacy and shelter. If a hedge is made of thorny plants, it will also provide a useful security barrier. Hedges can be used within the garden to create division, making separate areas within the garden. Dark green kinds, such as yew and holly, are often used as a backdrop for borders of shrubs and flowers.

The light green foliage of griselinia or thuya could be used to set off the brighter colours and, conceivably, purple-leaved plants could be used for dramatic contrast with grey foliage and pink and while flowers. Hedges can be used to form a maze – a complex design of dead-ends and wrong turnings.


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