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Potentilla hedge = too many flowers?

Hi, I'm looking for a dwarf wildlife friendly hedge as there seems to be a distinct lack of bees in my garden. I thought potentilla en masse would be attractive to them but I don't know if it would look a bit garish and busy. Any opinions on this by people who have actually seen one in person? I was thinking that I could mix the hedge with something else to break it up but I don't know what. Something dwarf and evergreen and maybe quite sparse so it blends better? Perhaps planting something in front of it, but what? Thanks


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,107

    Hi Louise image

    What a lovely idea - and of course hedges are so helpful to many sorts of wildlife.

    Can you tell us a bit about the site for the hedge?  What is growing iaround it?  It's hard to judge whether the potentilla would be 'too much' without knowing what else is going on there.

    Maybe a picture of the garden?  image

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

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,974

    I think Potentillas would make a really pretty hedge - they do quite large when they're happy but easy to prune a few branches out where needed. It wouldn't look well clipped into a formal shape though.

    As Dove says - a little more info and a pic would really help image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,462

    The pale yellow or white forms wouldn't look garish, even with lots of flowers. There are other things like lavenders or Teucrium that you could add, but they flower too.       If you planted some pretty clump forming grasses in front at intervals, or in between, you would see the flowers through the grass stems, which would dilute the effect and look more 'natural'.

  • Louise BLouise B Posts: 81
    Is there an easy way to post a photo from my iPhone? I can't find an option to post from album :/
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,409
    One of the white ones would probably be okay, but you can't beat classy English lavender like Lavandula 'Munstead'. Gorgeous and never garish!
  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452

    Cotoneaster makes a good hedge and the bees seem to like it when in flower and the birds enjoy the berries later in the year.

  • Louise BLouise B Posts: 81

    Hi, thanks for the replies.

    I'll have to look into spirea, I have been looking online and think I came across that yesterday. The only thing is that I was hoping for a more extended flowering period rather than all at the peak of summer.

    I do really like lavender and I like it in borders lining paths but I'm not convinced about it as a boundary hedge.

    Cotoneaster is a big no no. I hate the thing. Neighbour has (had) a huge one overhanging my driveway and the berries were inch thick on my drive every time the wind blew and he made a stink when I (legally) hacked it down. I actually have one in my garden that's days are numbered, never seen anything go near it.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,974

    I wouldn't use Cotoneaster as a boundary hedge - it really only looks good growing against a fence or wall on a boundary. Most Spireas are deciduous but there are summer flowering evergreen ones which you could combine with spring flowering shrubs to make a decent hedge. You're right - Lavender's too small. A mixed native hedge would be the best idea if you want to atttract wildlife and you could add beech or hornbeam which retain their foliage if kept under a few metres high. Potentilla flowers for such a long time that it would be a good solution - you could use it with a mix of other hedging to give variety. As mentioned, whites and pale yellow ones are nicest. Bear in mind that you want to be able to clip or trim it so pick other shrubs which won't lose their flowers when you want to tidy it. image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,409
    Ahh, I thought we were talking about a dwarf hedge!

    Cotineaster simonsii makes a great low-medium boundary hedge. Can be clipped formally, but will flower (and fruit) it's socks off. It's upright, not like the familiar C. horizontalis, and not too big/rampant like C. lactaeus. The flowers are extremely attractive to bees. The only drawback is it looks like the kind of thing developers like to use in new housing estates.

    Have you thought about an Escallonia / Potentilla mix? You could pop some Chaenomeles in there too.
  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452

    I'm glad someone spoke up in defense of cotoneasters image There are lots of different varieties, some are thugs but some are small, manageable and very wildlife friendly, providing flowers, berries and dense cover for birds and other small creatures. If you want flowers at different times of the year you could grown something through it such as Black eyed Susan or Nasturtiums. 

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