We don’t have a lot of clipped hedging here, I am prone to declaring. I may have to amend that. I paced them out and came to a rough estimate of somewhere over 150 metres which seems rather more than I thought. It is probably more accurate to say that we don’t have a lot of garden where the design is defined by clipped hedging. Just the Wave Garden, in fact.
I have been thinking about hedge trimming because it has taken up almost all of Lloyd’s work hours this week. At the same time, I saw a comment by an English gardener about currently trimming his clients’ hedges and that seemed odd to me because it is autumn there. I am guessing they trim in autumn so that they retain their sharp lines over winter. In colder climates, sharply defined shapes are often what gives winter interest in places where plants don’t flower all year round. Maybe they trim twice a year?
We cut in spring for two reasons. One is that we want to look sharp for the spring garden festival starting this Friday. The other is that the majority of our clipped hedges are small-leafed camellias. Trimming those in autumn would take all the flower buds off so we trim in spring before the next season’s buds are set.
We only trim once a year and we accept that come next autumn and winter, the hedges will be looking a bit woolly. I seem to remember that if you have hedges of teucrium or lonicera, you need to trim every four to six weeks in the growing season – and we have a growing season that lasts nine months of the year. That does not sound fun to me although maybe some people don’t mind forever trimming their garden hedges.
I can’t help but think that people who are obsessive about sharp hedges all year round might be better to make permanent walls instead – more expensive to erect but a lot lighter in maintenance down the years.
The wave hedges we saw at Le Jardin Plume in France still rule supreme for me. I have never seen hedges like them. Alas, I may not see them again in this new world we are in.
While Lloyd has been trimming hedges, Zach has been clipping feature plants. He pointed out to me that the taller michelias at our entranceway (Fairy Magnolia Blush) are more like chupa chups than lollipops, which is right because they are fully round, not like the two dimensional round lollipop. The small ones to the left we trim to an umbrella shape – so flatter on top than the rounded chupa chups.
Visitors who have seen our new summer gardens may recall the path that led to nowhere as we airily waved and said that we planned to move the two buildings in the way. Well, it is done. The large propagation house and Mark’s personal botanical treasure house have indeed been moved and we have opened up a new area. True, the path still doesn’t go straight through yet. It now terminates at the raspberry cage. I have served notice that can not be taken down until somebody has built me a new raspberry cage. I love the raspberry harvest more than I love the thought of a long, long vista there.
This year’s Taranaki Garden Festival was shaping up to be the busiest ever in over 30 years of its life span. Alas, now it is on track to be the quietest ever. The NZ Rhododendron Association were to have their annual conference at the same time and we were expecting four coach loads of rhododendron lovers on the very first morning of festival. It was cancelled this week. Northerners can’t get here, southerners no longer want to come and who can blame them? I am expecting pretty much all our tour bookings to be cancelled in the next few days.
But we will be here, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and all prepared next Friday. It will be down to locals to fly the flag for our gardens and the associated arts trail. It is disappointing but so much of life in this era of pandemic is disappointing. At least with gardens, they will still be here next year.