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Climbers in native hedge


Last winter I planted a mixed native hedge - mostly hawthorn - and I'd like to add something to extend the flowering period into the summer. At the moment the plant that's expected to flower last is the dog rose which I think should flower in June, although the hedge didn't really flower last year at all.

I'd prefer if possible to stick with native plants in the hedge, so I've been wondering about honeysuckle, which I'm sure I've often seen in hedges. However the information I've read says that UK native honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) grows to 8m high. I have seen that it can be pruned to fit a hedge, but I'm wondering how much work that will be in the long term and if I'll regret it! I'm planning to grow the hedge to about 2m high, and it's about 2.5m long running north to south, facing west into the garden. I was thinking of planting the honeysuckle at the north end so it would grow through the hedge towards the sun, and if it could be trained to grow horizontally beyond the end of the hedge I could extend it onto a trellis where the space is too narrow for a full hedge.

Any other planting suggestions are welcome, with bonus points if they are native plants. However space is limited for multiple plantings because the hedge is in a raised bed against a wall and many of the spaces between the hedge trees have just been filled with crocuses!



  • I’ve grown English honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum in native hedges and it works well. It’ll scramble sideways through the hedge so you’ll only need one. I waited until the hedge was fairly well established before planting the honeysuckle and then it was fine. Virtually maintenance free. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,027
    Honeysuckle is the perfect climber for hedging  :)

    Clematis also - and there are hundreds of varieties to choose from  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • It's a bit rampant but have you thought of Old Man's Beard, Clematis vitalba? It is present in hedgerows where we live.
  • Old Man’s Beard is great for really big hedges, but it’s much too big and heavy for the hedge described by @Trantion ... it’d swamp the hedge plants and can even weigh the branches down and kill off foliage on young hedges. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • That's interesting, I didn't know we had any native clematises. I'll take your word for it being too large though :-) I have thought of clematis, of course. Certainly plenty of choice there, though I wouldn't pick one with very large flowers because I think that might overly dominate the appearence of the other plants.

    Good to hear the honeysuckle isn't too big though. Are there any varieties that are a bit less vigorous? I'll have a think about what to do over the next couple of months, including whether to plant now or wait until the hedge grows more. On the other hand, it's a lot easier to plant while the hedge is small, and hawthorn grows quickly - the tallest couple of stems have already reached the height I want them to be. And presumably if the climber grows too fast I can just give it a hard prune and let it start again.
  • This is the native type

    Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’ is a selected type grown for its more pinkish flowers, whereas L. periclymenum ‘Graham Thomas’ has beautiful shades of deep cream and gold (and is a particular favourite of mine). Both have really good scent.

    Be aware that honeysuckle likes its roots in damp soil, so, unless the situation is already damp, it will be in competition with the hedge for moisture, and regular and generous watering from March until September will be important. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thanks. I'm not sure how to tell the difference between moist or moist but well drained - I think some of the soil can be quite damp, and I added a little grit where I planted the "moist but well drained" plants, especially lavender; but the hedge is penned into a raised bed that I've stuffed full of crocuses :-) so maybe a bit of competition for water as it all grows
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    I was wondering about clems for my native hedging. I thought it would have to be a group one type as there is no way to prune them selectively. Would you agree?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,027
    Or Group 2 - they need very little attention too. Just a trim where necessary, and in a hedge, they'd need very little. 
    They need more moisture generally though, so best to plant far enough away for access. The Group 1s are easier in that respect, although montanas need a fair bit until well estalished. Alpinas, macropetalas, koreanas need very little moisture.
    I can't keep the koreanas alive as I have the opposite problem. I can control the soil conditions but I can't control what comes out of the sky.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,884
    There’s always the “weed”, woody nightshade. It grows in my garden and is a perennial plant but not an invasive pest at all. The flowers are subtle but the berries are beautiful and much enjoyed by the blackbirds.

    Woody nightshade is not the same as Deadly nightshade.

    Here are some superb photos of Woody Nightshade.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
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