Posted: 16/01/2015 at 18:14
You can make a free hedge out of the hedge clippings of certain shrubs. Cornus Alba for instance.
At this time of year, some local councils have Grounds Maintenance departments organise the first hedge/shrub pruning of the season. Quite a few shrubs can be pruned at this time, and they like to get things tidy ready for the spring rush, while they can't cut the grass. Ask when they are cutting the hedges, or if you live near a park, hospital or traffic island, check regularly.
When they do the trim, go along and pick up the sticks. Try to get ones over a foot long, and choose ones that look undamaged. The ideal width at the base is about that of a pencil.Take them home, trim them to approximately the same length, and soak them for an hour or two in case they have been drying on the ground for a while.
While they are soaking, dig a trench somewhere were the soil is not waterlogged, add sand if drainage is poor, bury them from a third to a half of the length of the twig, and leave in the ground until next spring. If you don't have room for a trench, fill a bucket with lots of holes made in it, or an equivalent sized pot with very sandy soil, and put them around the edge of the pot about eight to a bucket. Make sure drainage is good as rot is your enemy. Those that don't sprout leaves, or start to go black at the base should be pulled up and discarded.
The ones I have had good success rates with so far are: Cornus of all kinds, Willows of all kinds, Philadelphus, Roses, Alder, Fuchsia Magellanica. There are many more but I am getting forgetful, perhaps others can suggest more that are available at this time of year?