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I have cleared my garden after buying a new house. I got a planner to plan the shrubs and flowers (its my first garden!) so I didn't botch the job. It took several week though and then a couple more to respond and get replies. In the end it took a long time and now the ice has started. Very frosty every morning. Is it advisable to wait until spring or can I start planting things now.

I am desperate to get a hedge in to stop people walking over my garder (corning plot). I want to plant a buxus (small box hedge).

Any advice would be appreciated.


I would be very nervous to plant anything now. My soil is waterlogged and with the icy conditions forecast next week it would be very harsh conditions for most plants.

Have you bought the box? From experience I would go for something with sharper edges.


Unless the soil is actually frozen, now is a great time to plants trees and hardy woody shrubs, so I would go ahead.  As you mentioned Box, it might be wise to have a look around your area to see if Box Blight is prevalent:

If, so the RHS link above also gives some alternative hedging plants which you might want to consider using instead.

Cheers - Bob (another festive forum name change!)


Spring and autumn said to be good for planting evergreens. The dormant season, now, for deciduous, ny time when the ground isn't frozen or waterlogged. Not waterlogged may be a problem , certainly pretty saturated here and my soil isn't especially heavy.


I wouldn't be going for box, with or without the blight problem. Too small for too long, won't stop people walking if determined. A 3 year old box hedge up the road from me got driven over.


 this is right around the corner from me. I haven't bought anything yet. If I could I'd have pyracantha for the birds/berries, but its a little high. Need just a barrier betweene garden and street. Also less than 1m tall...


Up on a raised area, it won't get driven over like that. You're right, pyracantha is too big, vicious to cut and then doesn't berry cos you've cut the flowering parts off. Scrooge suggests something with sharper edges. What about a berberis?, comes in deciduous and evergreen and various leaf colours. Can be clipped without upsetting it. Quite sharp to clip but not as vicious as pyracantha. You don't get many flowers and berries in any hedge clipped 1m, you're always cutting them off.

I would not plant box for reasons already given....disease ESP. What about berberis atropurpurea nana? Lovely colour from spring to autumn, less than 1metre tall, disease resistant, prickly but not vicious like its larger cousins and still bushy enough for winter hedge? I would definitely plant now when ground dries out a little..._as it will. I grow a yellow leaf fuschia called Genii with this berberis and it's a lovely combination. This fuschia makes a good low hedge in Cornwall but perhaps too cold for your area as a hedge ?

We used roses at a previous house to demark our garden/lawn edge. They could be planted between now & March if bought bare rooted. Flowers & thorns, pretty to look at & good at stopping footballs!

Berberis also came to mind- another neighbour on the same estate used that & kept it cut back to a lowish hedge height. Some are very thorny, some are evergreen, so lots of choice.

Boring mahonia aquifolium is as tough as old boots- used in carparks- but is evergreen, has flowers & fruit for the birds & can be kept hedge-like too.

Native hawthorn also a possibility- thorns, flowers, fruit & prunable. J.

Oakley Witch

Privet is nice, gives a loverly scent which is heavy in the air, good for bees and butterflies and quick growing too. It would'nt get to high if you look after it either Its not jaggy but you could mix a mayberry through it too which is jaggy

Adding to Sam's suggestion about privet, there is a lovely yellow leaved privet...Ligustrum Aureum...which is less vigorous than ordinary privet. Maybe mix that with dwarf berberis nana?


If you plant spiky things too close to the corner you have to think about innocent passers-by, rather than vandals. A customer has a berberis hedge in this situation and I have to trim it about five times every year to prevent injuries to small children from the thorns, people snagging their clothes, and so on.

chilli lover

Hmmm, " click2order" - advertising? wrong post thread??? etc. Let's see what others think....

chilli lover

Ignore last message - just moved on to Geoff's post on another thread , noted as spam or whatever

Oakley Witch

Chilli Lover...I love the wee growly face hehehe. I agree Verdan, the variegated variety is stunning as well. And Joe the Gardener has a very good point. You don't want little people getting hurt or pet owners with vets bills due to eye injury or infected cuts from spiky hedges.


Sharper edges - to me this suggests "squarer" not pointy?

Berberis - help, there hundreds of them (well a lot).

Privot - isn' it too big/tall. Also wouldn't I have to loose all the flowers and berries to keep it in check?

My garden isn't raised like the one in photo. There isn't any chance that people will drive on it, but they walk on it, about a foot into it and every dog that gets walked past is a lead length in my garden!




Hi Bill,  I see your problem.  People are lazy and will always 'shortcut' a corner like that unless you stop them with a hedge or tough shrubs.  Personally, I would go for a mixed 'wildlife friendly' hedge of 1 year old plants, which would come about half a metre tall, so (hopefully) have an immediate effect.  The main plant will be hawthorn and those are tough enough to survive if someone occasionally steps on one.  You want to plant the mix at about 5 per metre.  There are plenty of online suppliers - google 'wildlife  hedge' - the top hit found costs 63p per plant.  Once the hedge has grown a little, it will provide some shelter and you will find you can grow things behind it that would otherwise find it too windswept to do well.  In a few years you'll soon notice far more birds around, too.  It's win-win as far as I'm concerned!

are you sure that name is festive and you haven't been dog racing in Springfield?

So forgive my ignorance, but isn't hawthorn huge? Can I maintain a hedge like this at 1m or less? I go to the local wildlife reserve and the hawthorn is 2-3m gih and forms huge "hedges". Of course it is left wild and unchecked.

Many thanks,



Heh heh - yes, it's a festive name but you know where I got the idea!  Most hedging shrubs will grow into trees if you let them, but you can keep them to 1m by regular trimming.  Hawthorn is relatively slow-growing, so isn't going to go rampant.  I see where you are coming from though.  One alternative is a slow-growing evergreen like cotoneaster, but it would be expensive as you probably need to buy potted individual plants.  Hopefully more folk will chip-in with ideas.

Oakley Witch

The Mayberry or Hawthorn is a stunning hedge. Its berries give food to the birds and can also be made into wine as the flowers can. It is tradition to decorate the Mayberry on the Summer Solstice with garlands of flowers and ribbons. Its also known as the 'Gaurdian' in the tree world.

Beware of an Oak, It draws the stroke,  Avoid the Ash, It courts a flash, Creep under the Thorn, It will save you from harm.

Wee bit paganism about the Thorn