The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section VII. Treatment of Ground-Formation of Walks

Hedges as substitutes for wooden fences

Previous - Next

Verdant hedges are elegant substitutes for stone or wooden fences, and we are surprised that their use has not been hitherto more general. We have ourselves been making experiments for the last ten years with various hedge-plants, and have succeeded in obtaining some hedges which are now highly admired. Five or six years will, in this climate, under proper care, be sufficient to produce hedges of great beauty, capable of withstanding the attacks of every kind of cattle; barriers, too, which will outlast many generations. The common Arbor Vit� (or flat Cedar), which grows in great abundance in many districts, forms one of the most superb hedges, without the least care in trimming; the foliage growing thickly down to the very ground, and being evergreen, the hedge remains clothed the whole year. Our common Thorns, and in particular those known in the nurseries as the Newcastle and Washington thorns, form hedges of great strength and beauty. They are indeed much better adapted to this climate than the English Hawthorn, which often suffers from the unclouded radiance of our midsummer sun. In autumn, too, it loses its foliage much sooner than our native sorts, some of which assume a brilliant scarlet when the foliage is fading in autumn. In New England, the Buckthorn is preferred from its rapid and luxuriant growth;* and in the middle states, the Maclura, or Osage Orange, is becoming a favorite for its glossy and polished foliage. The Privet, or Prim, is a rapid growing shrub, well fitted for interior divisions. Picturesque hedges are easily formed by intermingling a variety of flowering shrubs, sweet briers, etc., and allowing the whole to grow together in rich masses. For this purpose the Michigan rose is admirably adapted at the north, and the Cherokee rose at the south. In all cases where hedges are employed in the natural style of landscape (and not in close connexion with highly artificial objects, buildings, etc.), a more agreeable effect will be produced by allowing the hedge to grow somewhat irregular in form, or varying it by planting near it other small trees and shrubs to break the outline, than by clipping it in even and formal lines. Hedges may be obtained in a single season, by planting long shoots of the osier willow, or any other tree which throws out roots easily from cuttings. (* The Buckthorn is perhaps the best plant where a thick screen is very speedily desired. It is not liable to the attack of insects; grows very thickly at the bottom, at once; and will make an efficient screen sooner than almost any other plant.)