Monthly Archives: February 2012

Isle of Wight hedgelaying

Interesting the things you stumble across on the internet. I’ve just been finding out about the Isle of Wight hedgelaying group via their nice website, which includes the explanation on this page of the local style of hedgelaying, which I’ve not come across before. Apparently it is rarely used these days, but still interesting to read about it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hedgelaying

Arts and crafts topiary hedges at Otterington Hall.

Chris Crowder, the head gardener at Levens Hall, was kind enough to end me these pictures of the beautiful topiary hedges at Otterington Hall in North Yorkshire. Designed  in the arts and crafts style, they date back to to approximately 1900. Otterington is not generally open to the public but they do have very occasional open days when the gardens can be viewed. I wanted to use these in the colour section in the book, but unfortunately they are not quite a high enough resolution, so instead I thought I would put them up here.


Filed under Notable Hedges, Topiary

Hedgelaying styles – Midland, Yorkshire etc

Donato Cinicolo, a hedgelayer who gave me loads of help on the book, lent me these pictures of different hedgelaying styles to use , though in the end we are using some different ones. I like these though, there is something comical about the little hedges with individual signs. They are from a National Hedgelaying exhibition.

The varying ways that hedges are laid is surprisingly interesting as the local variations often reflect differences in the local terrain and agriculture, and there are details like the fact that hedgelaying styles in foxhunting areas always have the stakes cut sloping into the hedge (so horses don’t get their hooves snagged). Then you have the hedges of Cornwall and Devon which could be a whole book in themselves – generally in that part of the world, hedges are stone-covered banks, which might or might not have hedge shrubs planted along the top – there is loads of information at the Cornish Hedges website. At some point I’ll put up more detail on the different styles.

Anyhow, here are the pictures:


Filed under Hedgelaying

Stilt Hedges at Hatfield House

This is another picture that was cut from the book for space reasons, a nice pair of stilt hedges at Hatfield. Stilt hedges (lines of adjacent trees cut so that it looks like a hedge on trunks) have been a popular formal garden element over the years – there’s another nice example at Hidcote Manor Garden but that one is in the book so I won’t put it up here just now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden History, Notable Hedges, Topiary

Veddw House Garden

Anne Wareham, author of The Bad Tempered Gardener, has rightly taken me to task for not including her gorgeous hedges at Veddw House Garden in my book. I haven’t made it out to Monmouthshire in the last year or so, and thus haven’t been able to see it in person yet, but it is definitely a garden I would love to visit when I get the chance.

On the website there are some great pictures of the hedges, including some lovely winter views.

In my defence, Britain has so many extraordinary gardens, it would take a lifetime to fit them all in…

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening Thoughts, Notable Hedges

Fern Fever – new book on the Victorian fern craze

Ferns are one of those strange types of plants, like mosses, that are truly ancient and undoubtedly fascinating in their own way, but often overlooked in favour of more glamorous cousins. When I come across a patch of ferns in the woods, I tend to think of them as dinosaur food because I know they go way back in the fossil records, unlike some of the more recent plant groups.

Anyhow, my knowledge of them is pretty limited, but I’m intrigued by this book, Fern Fever, due out today, about the Victorian craze for ferns. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks rather beautifully designed, and appears to be informative about the plants themselves as well as the collectors and gardeners who became obsessed with them.


Leave a comment

Filed under Garden History

Hedge Britannia – nice new cover for the book

Those nice people at Bloomsbury have been working on typsetting and designing the book, and have just sent me this new cover, which I think is looking lovely. (Click on it for a larger view).

It’s out in May.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Hedge Philosopher