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Hedging and Hibiscus syriacus:

ElothirElothir Posts: 92

On one side of our small garden we have a border sandwiched between the path and the boundary with next door. It's only about a metre wide (rough guess). This is currently home to a variety of perennials, but the most significant is a very mature (8-9' tall) Hibiscus syriacus. 

However for various reasons out of our hands we are considering whether we need to plant a proper hedge along that entire side. Not sure what but something thorny and evergreen most likely, though I do wonder about looking into particularly thorny roses. Which brings me to my question:

The Hibiscus is way to big for us to move (if such a thing were even possible) and even if we could move it with our clay soil we'd probably just end up chopping it's roots to pieces and killing it trying to do it.

So, is it possible or even practical to plant a hedge of some description, primarily for privacy at ground level (so it only needs to be up to about 6' once established), but leave the Hibiscus intact and essentially just have it be there in amongst the hedging somewhat?

I know it will be bare from Oct/Nov until Apr/May but it's a lovely shrub I don't want to lose.



  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,568
    We inherited a mixed "hedge" of shrubs planted along the road boundary of our garden when we moved here.  It contains viburnum, choisya, forsythia, philadelphus, abelia grandiflora, leycesteria formosa and two forms of hibiscus syriacus - a pale pink and a deep red.   

    They do leaf up later than others and the hedge is informal so doesn't get clipped like privet or laurel would but it works well and the hibiscus are valuable to pollinators.

    If you want something prickly and evergreen and great for wildlife, consider pyracantha as well as roses.  It has spring blossom for nectar and autumn berries for birds and provides shelter for a wide range of invertebrates and small mammals and some birds will nest in it when mature.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ElothirElothir Posts: 92
    edited March 2021
    Thanks for the response Obelixx, that sounds encouraging (albeit from a sample size of 1  :) ).

    Personally I'm only interested in a very informal 'hedge' rather than a very regimented one. Essentially I'm just thinking of creating a barrier and a bit of privacy along that side, so ideally looking for things that could fill in on either side of the Hibiscus and be allowed to naturally grow into/around it, which is why I wondered about some Roses potentially, though I have no experience with roses that large. That and the thought that it might look a bit odd to have a row of purely evergreens with one very noticeable deciduous shrub bang in the middle of it. 

    We actually have a Pyracantha already elsewhere (though that one has essentially been allowed to grow into a large shrub/small tree rather than a clipped hedge), so initial thoughts naturally turned to that as we know what it's like, but I wasn't sure how well it would go with the Hibiscus or if other deciduous shrubs would be better immediately adjacent to it. Another thought was Holly or something like Blackthorn. 

    The other issue is that one end of the bed is our shed, so whatever we plant at that end would need to be something that will not result in problems from roots etc?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,568
    I'd just go for what you fancy if it's for an informal screen.  The previous owners must have had a batch on special offer or something as ours go down the line in order, repeating once except for a birch tree that's in there too.

    I don't trim any of it as a hedge but I did have a serious hack at the forsythias - not a fan and they needed renewal pruning - and a light go at the phildelphus too as they'd been hit by an early drought last year.  There's a couple of photinia Red Robin in there too that needed thinning and lowering a bit but everything else gets fed, watered and left to its own devices.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ElothirElothir Posts: 92
    Yes that's essentially what I'm thinking about, getting shrubs that will work together and allowing them to grow together as a barrier (both physical and visual), but as far as pruning just keeping the height/width of any naturally larger species (such as Pyracantha, Holly etc) in check but otherwise not being concerned if some bits are taller than others (basically not going for the rectangular look).

    I suppose it would probably be best to narrow it down to 2-3 species so it doesn't look too chaotic as it isn't a massive border (our garden is quite small).
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,568
    It will look more cohesive if you limit the species but if you really don't want it to look like a formal hedge, just treat it as a linear shrub border and choose plants that set each other off - contrasting colour/texture/shape of foliage and any flowers as a bonus as they are usually fleeting.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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