Fruit Hedge. Front Garden, Dublin

fruit hedge, dublin

Fruit bushes planted are nothing new. But like a very young Elvis realising his hips moved in two directions, sometimes it’s not that you can, but how. Or like that t-shirt of mine says: It’s not the winning that counts but the arsing around. In short what I’m getting at is, what rule book is to say one can’t have a hedge, upon which there grows fruit ?

Bush n 1 a dense woody plant, smaller than a tree, with many branches; shrub 2 a dense cluster of such shrubs; thicket

Hedge n 1 a row of shrubs or bushes forming a boundary.

source: Collins Dictionary Paperback fourth edition 1999

Maybe you’ll counter that with why did I ask that question ? To answer, this was planted just last week and scratching my head, I think I’ve only ever done two fruit hedges in a suburban type Dublin garden ever before. I don’t particularly know why. That said, what a beauty of a walk out ones front gate that will be, picking ambidextrously, chomping and stuffing as many red currants, black currants or gooseberries [red] as you can fit in your satchel. The way I see it, fruit bushes are in reality normal plants, just no one told them we only really really like them when they give us nice things.

Don’t crop ‘em or do… to me its a bit the smarter fellows option to low maintenance time saver grow your own, without all of the getting dirty and double digging. And that has to be a good thing, right ?

In my own garden I did something similar with around 34 fruiting trees. Planted in a cul de sac to make a wee micro garden for Ella. Within that group I have 5 cherry trees that I have never picked from though they are always eaten by my neighbouring personal full-time buskers, the birds. I like to think of that as a fair barter ; and a little of the some for you some for me style of thinking. And though some garden folk may disagree with what may also be known as pests (the birds, not Ella) I’m more than happy watching her smile as Nanny’s bird comes to make sure she is eating all of her dinner.

Back to the hedge, maybe the ye olde types of pre ‘low maintenance only garden requests’ were hit badly by the gardeners fashion police. Sometimes thats no harm; Most of the 1980’s reminds me of Privot, grisilinia and a tang top wearing Sir Cliff – An entire era of bland, beige and right angles trying to appear rounded where the most exciting thing was variagation.

To me, the the merging of a non laborious grow your own with the a new funk ye olde to create a fruit hedge is lot like a glitter covered Marc Bolan relieving Sir Cliff Richard of his duties, whilst he is halfway through a chorus of we’re all going on a Summer Holiday and busting straight into the intro for 20th Century Boy. And you think to yourself, I kinda like how this new wheel works ~ even though the strategy behind it is nothing new at all. I mean pre Marc and T-Rex there was of course Jimi and The Experience ;

fruit hedge, front garden dublin

Of note:

  • this Dublin front garden is north facing. In reality, that very simply means a lesser amount of light, not no light. The fruit will grow, just not as well as it may do in the South of France.
  • the primary function of this hedge, is to be a hedge. The Brucey Bonus or bi product is that it will give you nice things to eat. And so long as we know that’s the deal, the gardeners book of how to care for a fruit bush rules do not really apply here.
  • there are over 30 plants in this hedge planted at a rate of 3 per metre squared. The 1% loss in light equals 1% loss in production equation in mind, there’ll be more than enough for everybody
  • joined in with ‘normal landscaping at the top, it looks pretty darned fine if I do sy so myself and makes a fantabulous addition to what one would most usually and very simply walk past, if it were a normal hedge.

Q’s or thoughts [?] leave a comment below or drop me a line.

Peter Donegan:

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My Garden: Refreshing The Landscape

old glasshouse

I’ve got Shaken Stevens playing in my head as I look back and forth at this picture. I was never a big fan of his and should there ever be a list of things that get on my nerves, he’s definitely up there at the very top. No offence. None taken Shakin’.

To more pressing matters this was, until this week my glasshouse. Now, it is but an empty space.

If I’m honest, I felt a little guilty taking it down. There were those who said it could have been saved, salvaged or repaired. In reality, it was made of that late 1970’s Cliff Richard era mobile home/ caravan park at the time nouveau type aluminium and was til now almost a putty that could melt and bend in my hands. And whilst the two periods of severe storms had done it no favours, the bends, aches and pains missing pained me as they fell so regularly as it fell out of shape and to the point it was time for history and evolution to collide.

corkagh park (16)

In talking with Matthew Jebb, Director of Dublin’s Botanic gardens some time ago, he chatted how a landscape should evolve. Even the ye olde, as I sometimes see them, Botanical Gardens. And he says [quote – Scroll the audio player below to 20:02 minutes and take a listen.]:

Nothing is ever static. We would never say you can’t touch that bit of landscape because it’s been like that for 50 years. As in a domestic garden, if you don’t give a garden a makeover every 10 – 12 years it starts to show. It really does look a bit decrepid. You need to start digging things up, changing things around, replanting and it just freshens it up. It’s what nature does….

Based on that, or not, I didn’t feel so guilty. And in reality, it very politely looked like I just didn’t give a damn any more. Something that is far from the case. In all honesty, things simply get old. The now 1980’s glass could no longer be cleaned. The bolts were tired and disintegrated in my new würt drill bits as I attempted to fix it….

donegan gardens

I see gardens now in passing and I can tell you by the plants still existing, and their placing whether it was 1970’s or boom era planted. And just like that the cogs click. One realises how illogic holding onto your appendix is, now and that [r]evolution is good. Especially in gardening. It was logically and aesthetically time to do the honourable thing.

In my head, I have many pictures. What I see in front of me some times, irks me. It irritates my mind to the point that, for the very right reasons that you and I both knew all along, the aged old planting style has to be stripped. It may well use some of the old components – but, the end result has to look good, leaning towards damn good. And I, I don’t really do the sure that’ll do ye, it’ll be grand type mindset. Especially when it comes to gardens.

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5 Evergreen Feature Plants For Planters

Ligustrum delavayanum

Above pictured is the Ligustrum delavayanum, set to go right outside the front door of a Dublin home this week. There was one, just the one…. suggestion that I maybe could have gone with the Laurus nobilis of a similar shape in its place, but for me the internodal distance of the Bay is just too great to keep that balled head looking perfectionately ~ is that even a right word ? Either or, there is nothing worse than meeting gangly wooden stems at easy eye inspection level.

The flip side of that choice, is that the slower a plant grows, the longer is takes to become a saleable plant and the longer it stays in a nursery the more it costs. With that in mind, the Ligustrum delavayanum is sold by height as well as by head size and whilst quality may and can come at good value, it is not readily available off the shelf or the euro saver menu.

That in part is what will make a dark glossy green leafed plant stand out ~ not everyone can have one and that they may ever look exactly the same is somewhat dependant on the grower and the mood he was in that morning. Nota Bene: plants.

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Bare Roots and Root Ball 2012

This seasons winter planting bare root and root balled list is in and listed below. Of course and like the image above one can have anything one wants, at any size one wishes – Higher, bigger or larger than the list below is usually deemed one off, special order or whatever name you wish to put on it and all you have to do is ask.

That said, should you be intending to plant a hedge, a row or just an avenue of beautiful trees, the following might just help in that regard.

The beauty as always in this case is that the trees and hedges are planted in their dormant state and therefore the maintenance to them is nigh on zero until they come they come into bud in Spring.

Take a leaf through [see what I did there…. I’ll get my coat] and see what you think.

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Dublin Landscaping: Cobble to Pebble Drive

I love the metamorphosis that is taking a space outside, removing it in its entirety and replacing it with something totally different. I like that I can see the end result before it starts and to this day that evolution still makes my heart beat just that little bit softer.

More than that there is something considerably greener and soothing about turning a totally covered in surface to free draining, with a side salad of by far better looking now, that I love about this type of landscaping ~ in this case, from cobble to pebble and planting.

Machine the preferred option in this case, cobble up and away the next step was to ensure that the below ground specifications were to absolute perfection. Of note and quite visible here were the excesses of sand, where it should have been hardcore. This rectified, the base layer was brought in and a whacker plate used to harden.

A retaining plinth of sandstone cobbles were laid to separate the pathways and the start of the driveway and the same batch of stones also used as the base to the front step. Some may query why I chose not to use a brush in type expanding sand here. Answer, the pathway edge was jagged and the yellow would have shown up its unevenness and taken away from what is [in short] a pretty sexy looking stone.

Albeit ever so minor, it should be noted that this type of softer, hard landscaping can and does come with its teething problems. Double underlined, minor. In short, horse powered cars have an ability to make stones move or shift and with a little time these undulating compressed aggregates will settle as they should.

From the aesthetically pleasing department, the planting on the far side is by choice extremes of height and seperated ~ as versus one big clump of a screen. Do bear in mind none existed there before hand, that and it’s also winter. It’s also the first time these phtosynthetic fellows have sat ’round the table’ together, so to speak and planted at the right side of the hibernating season, collectively they’re are gonna look absolutely glorious come the middle of spring sat right in front of their new home.

Personally, I like the little touches. I like the fact that the divide between the neighbouring driveway were wooden hand-made planters, planted with slightly more mature Vinca minor and Escallonia ‘red dreams’. Quite friendly really when you think about it. On the far side, the bed [not done any justice due to my terrible photography skills] is planted with a mix of semi mature: Mahonia, Hammamelis molis and an absolute stunner of an Acer palmatum Sagokaku. Down a level in height but high in colour are a mix of Rudbeckia, Daphne mexereum ‘Rubra’, vinca minor, Astilbe, Coreopsis grand ‘Rising Sun’ and some Heleborus niger.

From an overall complete picture perspective, I like the fact that the varying facets of the rugged sandstone cobbles, the pebble, the planting, the planters and the home in which they are now arranged in front of look like they have been together for some time – just never aged. More than that [?] honestly, what makes this garden really [really, really] great is it’s owners.

I love that I can make gardens more beautiful but that journey by a long shot is so much sweeter when the people you create it for are genuine lovely. And isn’t that nice. It is. Very. ;)

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