certain aspects of it look like Viper's Bugloss, Echium vulgare. Have you got any more photos?
What are Ladies and Gentleman, is that the same as Lords and Ladies?
that sounds very likely Philippa
a worn out woody plant may not be dead but it lacks potential. It's given it all away.
I should think the new plants will grow better if you do. Otherwise you'll have a limited choice of plants that will grow in impoverished soil.
Unless you live in a very mild area fuchsia is not a good choice for a hedge. I've seen tree like fuchsias and hedges in SW Ireland and I think they grow like that in SW England. For most of us the top dies and it grows from the base every year. Occasionally mine have regrown on the old stems and I've left them but usually regret it as they never look so good. There are no tougher fuchsias than that one, you haven't got the wrong fuchsia.
agree, no possibility of one plant absorbing bits of another, that's scifi stuff. Or maybe tabloid journalism if they're short of a scare story.
they go miles Hefty. as do Field Maple and Ash
I have a mini forest of Field Maple this year
sycamore seedlings, get 'em out while they're still tiny
fungal spores are everywhere. Fungi are part of the breaking down of dead plants. They feed on dead wood, not live wood.