The privet has been an ongoing saga since I first arrived here. It was towering, leggy, unattractive and hardly an environmental asset – bound for a Council edict. The initial plan, after inspiration from locals who pointed out that it was once a well-ordered and regularly trimmed hedge, was to see if I could cut it back dramatically and get it to regrow neatly after maybe 40 years of neglect.
After tackling a number of bushes with a branch saw over a year ago and getting great results, the rest of the hedge came down in July with the help of chainsaws. The old fence – high galvanised iron with hardwood posts – has a rustic charm of its own which I have now come to love, after originally plotting its downfall. I am now adding rambling roses behind the privets to add another layer of interest and take advantage of a sound structure.
Whilst the privet bases will be slightly “leggy” and the ground before it is a bit rough, I’ve edged it with timbers and backfilled with pine bark mulch, planted out with Kurume Azaleas, Helebores and Japanese Windflowers (Anenome x Hybrida). The privets are now all beginning to show signs of new growth and should thicken into a hedge over the next year. Planting of the edge border has begun in earnest, so this side of the garden is now taking on a far more formal appearance, which I was hoping for.
So far this is very raw, but I’m hoping over the next few years this will become a more structured part of the garden and add substantially more interest. I should be a major improvement given it was the biggest eyesore and so environmentally unfriendly.
A year on, I expect the photos to look vastly different.