Open Borders – Letting Nature In

There is a bit of a buzz in the plant world as we come to the end of the year as this is the season that so much gets done! The nights are drawing in and it’s getting gradually colder, but this is the best time to put in the permanent planting like bare root hedges, trees and roses.

The incredibly serious issues about the state of the planet, flagged up brilliantly by Sir David Attenborough, has sadly highlighted our disengagement with the rest of nature. But by adding long-term green features to our gardens we will be doing our little bit to help save the planet. So, if you are thinking of adding or a replacing a boundary then why not add a hedge instead of a fence? They are often a lot prettier but, more importantly, they are a lot more welcoming to wildlife and the ecosystems that are living alongside us in our gardens.

Not only will you be providing homes and food for birds, small mammals and insects, but also creating essential corridors for them to be able to travel safely and keep hidden from the prying eyes of predators.

So why am I getting so excited about bare root plants? Well, for starters they are much cheaper than containerised plants, they are also easier and lighter to handle, but most significantly they often establish themselves a lot more quickly by using this important time in the dormant period to get their roots growing strongly.

We have until mid-March before the growing season starts again, but if you have grand plans to put in hedges or trees I’d recommend trying to do it before Christmas – you have to be crazily keen to be battling with the weather and the cold in January and February!

Originally published in Focus magazine

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