National Garden Scheme logo Click here for NGS Open Day on 27.08. Tickets must be pre-booked.

Welcome to our Head Gardener’s Journal

In this monthly column, we will share technical aspects of our work and also keep you up to date about ongoing projects. If there is any topic you might want to hear more about, please ask during your next visit!

Hedge Cutting

There are many decisions to make regarding frequency and timing when cutting hedges. We try to spread the workload over various parts of the year, following the schedule shown below.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Hornbeam Hedges
Beech Hedges YES
Laurel Hedges YES YES
Yew Hedges YES YES
Privet Hedges YES YES

We have significant lengths of hornbeam and beech hedges at the boundary of the park and along the lane. The hornbeam hedges are cut twice annually: a tight clip in June, and a light one in October. Our beech hedges are cut only once, towards the end of the growing season in August. Most of our laurel is cut in the winter, along with other evergreens. This unusual time works for us, when the woodlands are too wet to work on. The whole team thus comes together for a massive pruning party in the garden. The laurel hedges facing the drive also need to be clipped in the summer to make room for road traffic.

Our yew hedges are attractive structures framing statues, paths and gates. Ideally, we would like to keep them tightly clipped, cutting them in summer and autumn. However, larger hedges located in densely planted beds are inaccessible in summer. Our compromise is to cut the outsides and tops of the hedges in June and November, while the border-facing insides are only clipped once, after the flower beds have been pruned in the autumn. Easily accessible hedges are cut twice.