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Hi all, I am no gardener and need some help/advice. I posted originally in another forum (plants). I wanted to have a buxus hedge (with a small flowering border in front of it), and was asking if I could plant it now as the frost has arrived. What everyone seemed to say (including local nursery) is not buxus! 

Okay this is what I have to work with. I need something below 1m. I want evergreen and something to attrach wildlife. Lots of people seem to suggest berberis, but I'm confused, theres literally hundreds (well a lot) of different varieties. I'm just getting confused!


Many thanks,



The problem with buxus is a fungal disease that seems to be getting more common. If you want a buxus lookalike, easy to grow, faster growing but still small and neat if kept clipped, then try lonicere nitida. There is a golden variety too.

If berberis has "nana" added to it's name then it's dwarf. There is berberis thunbergii nana which can be purple if it is atropurpurea nana or gold if it's aurea nana.  (What a mouthfull!)

Nandina domestica is very pretty with its leaves that flush red and its berries, but it's more expensive to buy. Can be used as single specimens or hedging.

If you like conifers there are several varieties of Thuja such as Thuja occidentalis "Little Gem". 

Now is a good time to plant when there is a mild day not a hard frost.


I love a holly hedge - good for wildlife, good for security, attractive throughout the year, you could go for one of the variegated ones or one of the very dark blue/green ones, and berries in the winter   Several here as well as lots of other hedge suggestions 


and from the same site

Lots of good suggestions on this site.

I would avoid any sort of conifer, if they get damaged they don't recover well. And also laurels, even if they're called dwarf. If they don't go up they go out and you'll be forever cutting it back from the pavement. For the same reason don't plant it too near to the edge.




Hebe would be nice, evergreen and loads of flowers over a long flowering period.



Just a suggestion-and purely as a temporary measure-if people are walking on your ground on that corner-I would now erect a temporary barrier of a post and wire fence -would not need to be that high until any hedge is firmly established-similar to this but not so elaborate




I have a very similar front garden and also put Buxus around it to make a low hedge. Works very well if slow growing. When it grows, the curve of solid Buxus looks great. It grows faster in full sun and slower with more shade. I would not avoid using Buxus just in case it might get blight! We do not stop growing tatties in case of blight. It is however not a wildlife hedge plant...rarely see anything on it.

Berberis is a valid choise, it is very spiky and can get out of hand after a few years but is evergreen and cuts well. Photonia Red Robin get large - like 3 metres, and looks untidy, so not front garden material, so is not appropriate.

I would go for Buxus and some bedding as you wanted, you can plant them now if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged. It does not look like an area to get waterlogged.

flowering rose

I have done a rosemary hedge for my son s small corner garden and its worked well,I took cuttings from his big rosemary bush and just stuck them in the ground,they took and once they statred to take off I clipped them into shape and we cut them back when they need it.As well as a lovely scent when you brush by it (its a handy for all those things you can do with it) its quick to grow,easy to maintain,looks lovely when in flower and free.


Actually Rosemary is a good idea. it also roots readily in water within 2 weeks. I use it as a border in my back garden (south facing). It also roots in the spring and summer when put stright into the ground as flowering rose has said.

Lavender makes a great hedge and is wildlife-friendly, especialy if u mix 2 or 3 varieties that flower at slightly different times to lengthen the season. You could probably expect a hedge of perhaps 2ft, plus flowers held above. Berberis isn't evergreen so wont suit what you're after. Lonicera is a good evergreen hedge if you want to keep it small. Also very fast and very cheap. Has tiny leaves, so you can keep it super neat like box, but because its fast you'd prune twice a year at least. Saying that, some lightweight hedge trimmers will whip through it in minutes because its such a fine-stemmed thing. I love mine. Yew is good for wildlife because of the berries, but is much slower. You can keep it to a metre so long as you don't let it get away from you - an annual prune should do it. 

auntie betty, does the lonicera keep its flowers if its shaped and continually trimmed?


I had a lavender hedge for a few years, but then even with careful pruning each year (and that is tricky because of the bees) it became leggy and 'knackered'. I found out that even commercial growers change their plants every 6 or 8 years. Rosemary would be great, but how about privet, you can get golden and possibly there is a variagated one. It is very forgiving; you can cut it back hard, it flowers, birds love nesting in it (though possibly not if it is only 1 metre high).


re lonicera flowers question. There may be exceptions but generally speaking a hedge that's tight clipped won't flower. Hedging lonicera flowers aren't anything to get excited about though.

You're probably more confused now than when you started Bill. There are as many opinions in a forum as there are forum members. Everyone has their different experiences and preferences. 

You might try walking round local housing areas to see what other people have used. If you see one you like take a few pics. If you don't know what it is someone on this forum will ID it for you.


Originally you were thinking of box. I suggested lonicera nitida earlier because it is the most like box. As it is in the honeysuckle family and you are asking about flowers I wonder if you think it is like a honeysuckle. It Isn't. It's a shrub, like box, used for hedging and topiary, the flowers are pretty insignificant. Another link to hedges direct -

Still think berberis atropurpurea nana.....dwarf, purple berberis would do very well. But, santolina too? Silver grey, aromatic, accepts hard pruning and great as a hedge. There's a lovely Abelia called Comfetti. It grows to about 4 feet, has small variegated pale green n white leaves that have shades of pink in them. Has pale pink fragrant flowers. How about a mixture of dwarf shrubs? I have a "hedge" of potentilla, euonymous emerald n gold, golden privet, loniicera Baggesons gold, a bright blue flowered variety of rosemary, sarcoccoca, etc. with a couple of half standard prunus cistena crimson dwarf to punctuate it. You could spend time planning a nice combination to give colour all year round. A hedge doesn't have to be just one variety.....



Verdun, would you ever be able to send a photo of your garden? It sounds great.

I guess so. I'll wait til hellebores are out and take pic of those. .maybe then as season progresses.

I like Verdun's idea of a good mixture; you could even have something in flower virtually all the year round.

Have looked at the hedging web site (see above) and they really have the most amazing selection.

Yes its a tough decission as I will be with it for a long time and its going to be some investment to make and so not easily or cheaply changed. Fortunately I am in no rush really.

I ask about the flowers, knowing they are insignificant, because from the photos I've seen, the flowers are on the stem, not at the end of a stem or growing out of the plant. If this is the case and some flowers will persist, then it will attract insects.

I am torn between wanting it to look "good" as its a large main corner plot (we all have our pride) and sodding it all and making it purely for the birds and the bees!

I like the idea of a native hedge, but am daunted by the prospect of having my hands full dealing with it, with my limited experience...

The help and suggestions here has been amazing, but not so confusing now, just difficult to decide.


On a similar query recently I suggested that the best option would be yew: good looking, supremely hardy, easy to shape, disease free. Not as slow-growing as people claim - 15-18 inch bushy plants that have been shaped to multiple shoots by a good nursery will quickly put on height. Plant them 2-3 feet back from the edge of the pavement and put a 'temporary' knee-rail fence on the pavement side of them to discourage people from cutting the corner.

Berberis is spiky and a bit of a devil to cut in this situation - you'll need to do it several times a year to keep it from spiking little children on the pavement; lavender is only short-lived and one or two other things mentioned can also get a bit leggy.

Once you've got a good, sound, dog-proof boundary you can do what you like on your side with more informal plants.