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Hi, I would appreciate advice on starting a hedge. Ideally I would like to plant it in a large planter down the side of our drive. I am guessing the planter would have to be reasonably deep (we are going to make our own), so suggestions on depth would be helpful. I am unsure of the quality of the ground under the tarmac drive, so I thought this would be a safe option. I have bought a couple of bare rooted Hawthorns, and have also got a smallish established Blackthorn all in good size pots while I decide what to do. I was wondering if I should have a mix of plants or whether to stick to these two. It would be nice to have something evergreen as well to mix in with it. Wildlife friendly would be a bonus as well! The front garden is west facing, but the hedges will be planted west to east (hopefully that makes sense) so that the long bit will be facing north/south. All suggestions appreciated.

How long is your hedge going to be? If it is in a planter, you have the potential to be doing a lot of watering if you have a dry summer. It would probably limit the ultimate height of your hedge. Both Hawthorn and Blackthorn are very tough plants and can grow quite well in poor soil, so what is under the tarmac may not limit you too much. When grown in good soil both species are capable of becoming trees, they are quite vgorous.

I too think a hedge in a container is a no go

susan, when you say planter do you mean a raised bed?  

Think about planting in the ground if you can 

Thanks everyone. I was thinking the planters/beds-but-not-raised would be about 2 feet deep, about the same wide and 12 feet long - maybe two separate lots of 6 feet but together (sorry it's a work in progress and will need to give my husband the plans for him to build when I've got my head around what I want to do,  I have got blackthorn and hawthorn, plus today picked up some very nice looking berberis in a garden centre sale. 

The reason I was thinking about a substantial container is that it would become a trial run. I could gauge growth in terms of height and density and how it copes with where I'm putting it (a bit of a windy spot). Then after a couple of years if it's looking good and coping well then transplant into the ground. I thought that putting them in a known quantity in terms of soil would mean they would have optimum growing conditions. I have no idea if this is mad, bad or dangerous - please feel free to laugh and point I won't take offence! Part of the thinking behind this is that the place it's going is the dividing line between us and a neighbour. Their garden is slightly lower than ours. I am also, just getting back into gardening after a decade of small children, where I've just put things in pots and haven't really addressed the garden as a whole. Also I'd like some instant-ish privacy as the neighbours have taken down a substantial hedge so we now feel our front garden is very exposed with no privacy from the road, or from them.

The other idea is to build a brick bed. This would also be a way, I think if getting a few extra inches of height in the early years they are growing. The tarmac could be dug through but I wouldn't be relying on the quality of whatever's below.

Hope this isn't too rambling! thanks again for all your help. Can we put photos on here by the way? 

Thanks! I'll post in the morning.

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Thanks, I have sort of come to that conclusion today. I've picked up a few more hedging plants, some deciduous, some evergreen, some with flowers and/or berries, from what I've seen it looks like they will all get along together well. I've potted them into bigger containers until the border is ready. I'm wondering if the tarmac can be removed with a pick axe, which would save any expensive tool hire. Will give it a go. Thanks for all your help. It's helped me make a decision - yay!! Can't wait to block out the view of next door's overly prim garden! Will now have a look at your photos.....

Fairygirl

Good advice from Tetley there Susan. Preparation is key, and  will pay dividends - the plants will get off to the best start possible if you give them some nourishment. Don't worry about wind and weather when you're planting hawthorn and blackthorn - it's an ideal choice for keeping livestock in/out for a good reason! 

Tarmac is usually fairly easy to shift with a pickaxe once you get going. No harm in giving it a try 

Great, thanks. At least I won't look like a madwoman with an axe. Well not too much anyway...

Am off to B and Q in the morning. And yes, will post some photos. 

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