Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn/quickthorn/May)

What’s far, far better than a fence or wall around your garden?


The new open-ground season is upon us (autumn/winter 2020-21) and our first deliveries of open-ground hedging plants have arrived. Open-ground (or bare-root) plants are economical to buy, easy to transport, and are perfect for planting November to March.


A living boundary around your garden or allotment can provide a wealth of benefits for wildlife – especially if you plant native species. Native hedges provide pollen and nectar for bees and other beneficial insects; autumn berries and fruits for birds, plus valuable shade and shelter for day to day living and the nesting season. In addition to being natural windbreaks they look good too and can provide all-year-round interest!

It pays to prepare the ground well before you plant your hedge. Remove weeds from the area and dig the soil over, incorporating tree and shrub compost or similar if the soil is poor. Plant open-ground/bare-root plants as soon as possible after purchasing. (If you need to delay planting, you can ‘heel in’ the plants in the same way they’re stored at the garden centre throughout the winter season.) Individual plants should be spaced approximately 30-60cm (1-2ft) apart, depending on the growth rate and desired hedge size. For a thicker hedge, plants may be placed in staggered rows. We recommend using bonemeal (&/or mycorrhizal fungi) when planting to help the roots establish quickly (and develop a good fibrous root system to aid drought and disease-resistance in the future). After planting, water in well and make sure the hedge is watered sufficiently for the first two years. Always delay planting if the site is waterlogged or the soil is frozen. To make a mixed native hedge, the Wildlife Trust suggest planting three plants of the same species per 1 m (3 ¼ ft) with one each of two other species. Never trim your wildlife hedge during the nesting season (March to August). Late winter or very early spring is ideal, so that autumn fruits and berries are left for wildlife to feast on; however, trimming time may be varied according to the plant species, so that there’s always plentiful cover for wildlife. In addition to the plants below, consider adding climbers or other trees & shrubs such as ivy (Hedera), honeysuckle (Lonicera), crab apple (Malus) and rowan (Sorbus) to provide more variety. Underplanting with bluebells and snowdrops, as well as native primroses and cowslips (Primula vulgaris and P. veris) can further enrich and enhance your hedge.

The following varieties are in stock as of week beginning Monday 23rd November 2020 (more to follow):

Hawthorn/quickthorn/May (Crataegus monogyna)

Masses of pretty white blossom in spring and stunning red fruits (‘haws’) in autumn make this a hedgerow favourite. Works well alone but also makes a great addition to a mixed hedge. Suitable for sun or partial shade and most soils. An RHS Plant for Pollinators. We have it in two sizes –

(40/60cm) 70p each, £6.50 for 10.

(120/150cm) £2.85 each, £27 for 10.

Hawthorn – a familiar hedgerow native. Also known as ‘quickthorn’ or ‘May’.

Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

Deciduous tree/hedgerow shrub naturally found growing in ancient woodlands. The ribbed green leaves turn yellow in autumn. Catkins appear in spring followed by winged seed heads. The seeds of common hornbeam are the favourite food of the ‘Hawfinch,’ (Britain’s largest finch) whose numbers are rapidly in decline. Suitable for sun or partial shade and most moist, but well-drained soils. RHS Award of Garden Merit.

(40/60cm) £1.40 each, £13 for 10.

Green beech (Fagus sylvatica)

An iconic English tree and a popular hedgerow shrub as it’s quick to establish. Long-lived, it may grow 30-60cm per year. The green leaves turn golden-brown in autumn, and although not evergreen, they usually remain on the plant throughout the season. Prune hedges annually. Overgrown hedges may be cut back during milder periods in February. Suitable for full sun or partial shade and most soils. (Note: if you have very heavy or wet soil, or the hedge will be in a frost pocket, Hornbeam would be a better choice as it has a similar appearance to beech but is much more tolerant of these conditions.) RHS Award of Garden Merit.

(60/80cm) £1.90 each, 10 for £18.

Green beech

Purple/Copper beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropurpurea’)

Wonderful purple leaves with reddish autumn colour make these hedges a bold and lovely sight. A cultivated form of beech rather than a native, but valuable to wildlife all the same. Suitable for a sunny or partially-shaded site and most well-drained soils.

(50/80cm) £3.65 each, £35 for 10.

Green privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium)

Popular, fast-growing, semi-evergreen shrub for a sunny or shady site and most soils. Makes a dense, pollution-tolerant hedge. Trim hedges twice a year in May & August to contain growth as required. If untrimmed, will produce white flowers July-August which are attractive to bees and other pollinating insects. Makes a good formal, clipped hedge or also suitable for a more natural look. An RHS Plant for Pollinators.

(40/60cm) £1.45 each, £13.80 for 10.

Green privet

Dog rose (Rosa canina)

A vigorous, thorny, deciduous shrub with pale pink or white flowers in early summer, followed by bright red fruits (rose hips) in autumn. A super scrambler to weave its way through your hedge. Suitable for a sunny position in most moist, but well-drained soils. The flowers and fruits are an important wildlife food source. An RHS Plant for Pollinators.

(40/60cm) £1.20 each, £11 for 10.

Dog rose will scramble through a hedge, using its curved thorns to support itself on other shrubs.

Field maple (Acer campestre)

The only maple native to Britain – a long-lived, deciduous tree/hedgerow shrub which can live for up to 350 years. The insignificant green flowers are followed by winged seed heads and yellow autumn leaf colour. The sap may be used to make maple syrup. For full sun or partial shade and moist but well-drained soil. Prune late autumn to midwinter if required. An RHS Plant for Pollinators and RHS Award of Garden Merit.

(60/80cm) 99p each, 10 for £9.

Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

A handsome evergreen with large green leaves which makes a quick-growing hedge. If untrimmed will produce spikes of white flowers in summer, followed by red then black fruits. Easy to grow, suits sun or partial shade and most well-drained soils. An RHS Plant for Pollinators.

(40/60cm) £3.80 each, £36 for 10.


Blackthorn/Sloe (Prunus spinosa)

Deciduous shrub with dark bark and long thorns – hence the name ‘blackthorn’. Extremely valuable for wildlife. The creamy-white flowers are borne from late February to April followed by dark purple fruits which may be harvested from October to November (ideally after the first frost) and used to make sloe gin or jam. Plant in a sunny position in moist, but well-drained soil. An RHS Plant for Pollinators.

(60/80cm) 99p each, 10 for £9.


Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)

Erect deciduous shrub with clusters of white flowers May-July followed by translucent red berries (loved by birds, especially bullfinch and mistle thrush) and pink/red autumn leaf colour. Not a fussy plant – suitable for sun or shade and most soils. If you come across it in the wild it’s an indicator of ancient woodland. Excellent for wildlife. An RHS Plant for Pollinators.

(60/80cm) £1.40 each, 5 for £6.50.

Guelder rose

Coralberry/Snowberry (Symphoricarpus x doorenbosii ‘Magic Berry’)

Hardy deciduous shrub with pale pink flowers in summer followed by rosy-lilac berries. Low, dense, bushy habit. Suitable for sun or partial shade and moderately fertile soil. Drought-tolerant once established. Height up to 1.5m (5′).

£1.50 each, £14.50 for 10.

WE ALSO HAVE A GOOD RANGE OF Container-grown hedging – including hazel, spindle (Euonymus), guelder rose, field maple, dogwood, laurel, box, holly, green & gold privet, Amelanchier, Viburnum tinus, Photinia etc.
For example:

BUXUS SEMPERVIRENS (BOX) – An RHS Plant for Pollinators – 1 litre pots – £3.99 each; 7cm pots £1.85 each, £18 for 10.

TAXUS BACCATA (YEW) – RHS Award of Garden Merit. 2 litre pots – £7.99 each.

PRUNUS LAUROCERASUS (LAUREL) – An RHS Plant for Pollinators – 3 litre pots – £7.70 each, £72 for 10.

Holly – an excellent addition to a wildlife hedge or garden.

For more information on why you should plant a native hedgerow and how to care for it:

How to make a hedge for wildlife (The Wildlife Trusts)

Hedgerows for wildlife (RSPB)

RHS guide to native hedging plants

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