Planting a Pleached Hedge and Woodland Border

An 18th century walled garden in Wick, South Gloucesteshire, part of one of the old mill complexes on the River Boyd. A bit of a blank canvas with regard to planting but restored as a garden, not a car park or mediterranean themed landscape with swimming pool. Which makes a nice change.

You have to admire a good, listed wall but the stable building poking above it is a bit of a shame so we decided to plant a pleached hedge, artfully screening the stables but not obscuring the wall – a feature to be made the most of. A trained pleached tree from a specialist nursery will set you back a good £600 per plant (we needed eight) so we decided to buy pot grown standards for a quarter of the price and train them ourselves. Looking forward to that as although we’re experienced in training fruit espaliers, wisteria &c. we’ve never trained a pleached tree from scratch. Until now.

We chose Beech. We didnt want an evergreen and clipped Beech will keep its ‘juvenile core’ of leaves over winter. Only dropping them as the new foliage comes through in the spring. Hornbeam is similar but in my experience it doesnt keep its leaves as well through the winter.


Trees planted, lower branches removed. We’ll raise the canopy as the trees grow to eventually fill the allotted space. Getting that balance right between expensive, instant, high maintenance planting and more economical, more reliably succesful younger planting, but with enough immidiate impact is one of the judgement calls you need to make. One you can rely on an experienced gardener to give good advice on!

The wall is north facing and as part of the plan to introduce some decoration to the bare garden we planted the border with flowering shade plants. Although its by a wall, the soil should be suitable to grow Hosta, Gillenia, Kirengeshoma, Rodgersia amongst ferns, Astantia, Hakonechloa. We will plant bulbs this autumn and add foxgloves for next spring.






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