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DFG Top ten deciduous hedges

Posted on October 14, 2015 by David Fairley | 0 comments

At DFG we have compiled a list of the top ten deciduous hedges. In no particular order:


1. Rosa rugosa 'Alba' (Hedge Rose)

2. Carpinus betulus (Hornbeam)

3. Fagus sylvatica (Beech)

4. Cornus alba 'Sibirica' (Vivid Red Dogwood)

5. Sambucas nigra 'Aurea' (Golden Elder)

6. Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea' (Purple Berberis)

7. Berberis ottawensis (Red Berberis)

8. Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' (Variegated Dogwood)

9. Acer campestre  (Common Maple)

10. Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose)

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Planting acid soil loving plants

Posted on October 14, 2015 by David Fairley | 0 comments

Plants such as Camellia, Hydrangea and Magnolia are easy plants to look after and need minimal pruning, however they do require more acidic soil than most plants. Most soils are lightly acidic but are closer to neutral and not acidic enough for Camelia to grow vigorously. Addition of ericaceous fertiliser is essestial in most areas of Britain, a lot or little, monthly or once a year particularly while the plant becomes established.


  Camellia japonica


When planting new acid loving plants it is also essential to prepare the ground well before the planting site. We suggest the hole for the planting is double the size of the plant's root ball, then add quality Ericaceous compost and mis this into some of the surrounding soil and add this in to the hole. This means the new roots will have soft material grow into that also is nutritious for strong growth. The early stages of any plant taking into the local site, and the surrounding soil is important if you want the plant to establish as quickly as it can.


I  Acer palmatum


If the leaves yellow this is means an additional fertilise is required, and if the plant is not creating vigouous and lush growth it also needs feeding. The best time in the year to plant is in Autumn when the ambient temperature cools but is still warm for good root growth, Autumn and early Winter normally of course is reliable for rain. So this gives the root of the plant plenty of time to grow a bit before Winter. The newly added plants should always be kept well watered, soil must be kept moist for this at all times. Be careful you plant is not creating a rain shadow, particularly with evergreen plants, the canopy of the plant can actually stop the necessary amount of water getting to the roots. Good luck!

Fabulous acid soil loving plants include:





Erica (or Heather)





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Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

Posted on September 01, 2015 by David Fairley | 0 comments

Annabelle is one of the most loved Hydrangeas, making one of the longest and best displays in the garden. Its name, Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' is a medium sized bushy deciduous shrub with broadly oval green leaves with very large spherical heads of white flowers up to 25 cm across, that flower all through summer. The display however does not finish when the leaves drop and the petals fade in Autumn, the dead petals stay on the plant holding the spherical shape they did through the summer. This gives a wonderful affect and structure throughout the Autumn when the herbaceous and deciduous plants are all losing there drama. Then when the winter frosts come this structure is frozen to make the plant come alive again. An absolute classic that is very hardy also, you must prune all stems down to the ground in the spring.

RHS pruning group: 7

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Pruning shrubs and trees

Posted on August 18, 2015 by David Fairley | 0 comments

There is very poor literature available on pruning and training trees and shrubs, particularly on the web. There is great drawings and advice on all pruning groups for shrubs and trees by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). But the RHS like to be very vague publishing them, as the mastering of these groups leads to buying there endless books on the subject almost pointless, apart from indulging in lovely photos and illustrations!

If you type in to google for any shrub of your choice, including its species name! Google will come up with that shrub on their own RHS website page.... Their pages give excellent general advice but it will give the advised RHS pruning group on it, if you have the RHS Pruning Group illustrations / guide of the group you need, this will show you exactly best how and when and why to prune the plant you need to know about...

Our gardening business is based in the mastering of the 13 pruning groups for shrubs and trees. (As well as lots of weeding etc.) There is then more groups for Roses. Advice for training of certain climbing plants is essential on top of the fundamental Pruning Group knowledge.

For us sharing our knowledge of looking after trees and shrubs from maintaining large gardens is important when talking to our customers buying plants from us. Keeping your shrubs to a compact size for the space you have chosen is very important, an even shape also is a virtue to the bed. Pruning shrubs properly using the brilliant advice of the Royal Horticultural Society's groups means that the tree or shrub's form looks as vibrant as possible, as well as flowering as best it possibly can.

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English Cherry Laurel for a hedge

Posted on August 16, 2015 by David Fairley | 0 comments
English Laurel could not really be trumped as a popular hedging plant. Hedges are practical as well as a means for a aesthetically pleasing addition to the garden. Laurel then is known as an evergreen plant that makes an excellent hedge, however the is only plant that can truly be known as Laurel. This is Prunus laurocerasus, Prunus being Latin for Cherry, our classic and beloved English Laurel plant is indeed a Cherry, and thus the reason that Prunus laurocerasus is also known a Cherry Laurel.

There are hundreds of species of Prunus but there are also many variants of laurocerasus, our classic Laurel plant we use for hedges is Prunus laurocerasus 'Rotundifolia.' But a similar but less known Laurel is Prunus laurocerasus 'schipkaensis,' this is well worth considering as a different option of English Cherry Laurel planting. English Cherry Laurel is evergreen and has a very leathery and thick leaf that also can grow very large indeed if left to grow checked. The other variant of Prunus laurocerasus that we recommend and make a great hedge is known as 'Otto Luyken' which has a much darker green colour to its leaves than 'Rotundifolia' and the leaves are longer and thinner too.

The are also other genus of plants that are commonly mistaken as Laurel, the most common is Acuba, also evergreen and grows in a similar manner to Prunus laurocerasus but is a totally different plant, but can make a good and thick hedge. The very impressive Magnolia grandifolia looks similar to English Cherry Laurel too, however to the experienced gardener will know the tree itself grows in a very different way to Magnolia grandiflora and is not a suitable plant for a hedge. The white flowers of all species of Prunus laurocerasus are lovely and fragrant, however they will not be seen when using the plant as a hedge. If you do use English Laurel, Cherry Laurel or in its Latin name Prunus laurocerasus as a specimen plant then the Royal Horticultural Society suggest it should be pruned using their Pruning Group 9. Pruning is essential for all shrubs, to keep their shape as even and vibrant as they possibly can be, but also to keep the shrub compact enough to fit in the space they are situated in.

English Laurel or Cherry Laurel make fantastic hedging, thick and fast growing. Tough and hardy against fungus and frosts, any damage sustained can quickly thicken out again quickly, as an example this is not the case with so many conifer choices. An easy to manage hedge. Another interesting fact and a worthwhile warning to gardeners is that Prunus laurocerasus does contain chemicals that when burnt produce cyanide as a bye product. With this in mind we heavily suggest you do not add your Cherry Laurel / Prunus laurocerasus to a bonfire. If you do, certainly do not stand around the bonfire inhaling the smoke. There is recordings of people collapsing and worse next to bonfires. We hope you have enjoyed our passion for Laurel.

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