Forum home The potting shed

The Wild Gardener Colin Stafford-Johnson and dead hedges

a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 1,033
I enjoyed The Wild gardener with Colin Stafford Johnson. It was a slow TV in a really nice way. 
OH thought he would have a go at a dead hedge. It does look like it would be really good for wildlife.  Coincidentally a local cafe has one, and I’m actually quite impressed with how neat it looks (must go take a pic). Where we would have it though, is at the top of a gully. I’m wondering if it will all end up in the bottom!
Has anyone got one and what do you think? I assume it needs topping up regularly? 


  • I could be tempted, but even though my garden is large it might be hard to generate enough brash - I need some for chipping for paths and mulch, some for log piles, and some it would seem for rabbit 'hotels' as their numbers have dropped drastically and they are in need of help, as their value as landscape engineers has only just been recognised... :)
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,832
    I don't have one but the principles are straight forward enough. If you look carefully at what he did he had vertical posts driven into the ground. You must place them at intervals suitable for the length of the prunings you want to put in (at least on the outside edges). If the horizontal branches overlap at least 2 preferably 3 verticals then it should stay in place. Hope that makes sense.
    AB Still learning

  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 1,033
    Yes I think I get it. The brash I have currently is Holly, and it’s quite long and flexible stems, so it should work well. I also think it be ‘generating’ more so it should be ok if I need to refill. 
    I will try and get a pic of the local one tomorrow. 
  • I saw that programme and it's the first time I've actually come across a dead hedge but love the idea and will be making one (luckily I have a stick made dog who brings then back from the woods daily, it's created a large log pile that now has stag beetles). The construction is as Allotment boy mentions above, you use some posts to hold it in place but if you have any willows near by you much be able to weave some stability into it and add a little life.
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    Our local parks and woods have used them for years and they work terrifically well and are pretty much free. It's a good use of brash if you are generating it. The volunteers keep them topped up with what they cut back in the woods a few times a year. The hedges are woven around certain growing areas and around large trees to keep people, climbing children and dogs away. It's a very non-invasive way of keeping them off and the hedges can be moved fairly easily and the ground opened up again as needed.

    - - -
    I often think back to a hostel in visited in Cork thirty years ago that had built garden walls out of decades of daily newspapers, continuously topped up. The walls were wide, taller than me and very compacted. Plants had grown it into a kind of hedgerow and it was full of ferns - plant material becoming plants again.
  • Simone_in_WiltshireSimone_in_Wiltshire WiltshirePosts: 556
    I loved the two episodes and took so much from it.
    I now know what happens inside a bee hotel, thanks to Colin who answered my question.
    The idea with the dead hedge is similar to what I started last year, when I reshaped the garden: instead of buying borders for a lot of money and probably made in China, I collected branches while walking in the woods around us and used them. We have got an ugly concrete fence on one side which can't be knocked down. I'm afraid, we haven't enough dead branches around us to cover that, but I keep that as an option.
    Over the summer, we had our upcycling project finally done. We managed to get 9 pieces from old palettes and I turned it into a shelve combined with old bricks. I filled it with old dead wood, but also my old Gardeners World issues and National Trust books. What ever did this, the National Trust Handbook cover was eaten the next day! The old GW issues also have lost all their covers in the meantime.

    I my garden.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,058
    I've done something similar for years in a very small way, just to have extra habitat for all sorts of creatures. All branches cut back when anything is pruned get stacked up, and added to every year. I have a small section along the back boundary which has the trunk from an ash sapling I took out, as the top of the 'fence', and I add all the bigger bits to it, including the trunks from C'mas trees. I'm hoping to make it a better sort of structure next year as I have quite a lot of prunings from this autumn.
    Small bits also get used round there as raised bed edging. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 3,032
    There's a long hedge just like that down the glen from me a1254 and it looks great.
    My son has a circular one in his garden but it's a feature as well as a wildlife hedge. That too looks great.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,058
    Haven't a clue @a1154. The west of Scotland covers quite a big area  ;)
    I'm on the south side of Glasgow, just to the north of the famous windfarm, which I can see from my windows

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

Sign In or Register to comment.