The Ashridge Nurseries Blog

Make a home for nature

As gardeners, one of our main aims, along with creating a space that looks lovely, should be sustaining the wildlife we have. And using the space you have available to you to make a home for nature is a great way of achieving this. Whether your plot is big or small, there are countless ways to get involved, from planting bird-friendly hedging, to building a home for hedgehogs.

Steven from the Yorkshire Dales decided to do just this - build a home for nature. When we saw his tweet, showing us his newly planted 90 metre Bird Friendly Hedge, we couldn't resist asking him a couple of questions:

Freshly planted bird friendly hedge mix with canes and spirals Freshly planted bird friendly hedge mix with canes and spirals

Where did you plant your hedge? And why?

'I planted the hedge with the help of my father, 2 nephews and a family friend, who was in the horticultural business. Our family acquired around 6 acres of pastoral farmland about 2 years ago, which is divided into 3 separate fields, one adjacent to a River. A local farmer lightly grazes a few sheep in the fields at times. The hedge is planted at the foot of an old, disused railway embankment, and we plan to plant the other side of the embankment next year.

The main reason for planting the hedging is my interest in conservation and, more specifically, love of birds. Hedges are a relatively uncommon feature here in the Yorkshire Dales, with most field boundaries being fencing or drystone walls. Planting the hedging meant a great opportunity to provide the local bird life with shelter, feeding and nesting places. We were able to plant a reasonably large stretch simply because we had the space.'

Is your hedge single or double planted?

'The hedge is single planted because it had to fit in a 50-80cm gap between a fence and a drystone wall. Squeezing in was a challenge! We planted around 3 hedge plants per metre as yourselves recommended.'

(If you look closely, you'll also see that Steven has planted his hedging using spiral guards and bamboo canes for each plant. This will help protect your plants from rabbits/deer and support them while they establish.)

Why did you choose our Bird Friendly Hedging?

'I chose Ashridge because the prices seemed good value and the bird friendly hedging was exactly what I was looking for; providing food, shelter and nesting opportunities for a variety of birds and other wildlife.'

Want to make your own home for nature?

If like Steven, you're keen to help make a home for nature, then you need look no further than our Bird Friendly Hedging Mix. This mixture of 9 different bird friendly hedging plants is suitable for pretty much any soil and is thorny enough to deter unwanted intruders.  It will provide food for birds pretty much all year round and, once mature, will be cat-proof - so most birds will be more than happy to nest in it.

4 thoughts on “Make a home for nature”

  • Hi

    I want to remove a large conifer hedge by planting a less intrusive hedge in front. Once established I plan to cut down the conifer hedge.

    The conifer hedge is 12mtrs. How long does it take for your hedging plants to grow to 3 mtrs. I appreciate there are many variables

    • Julian

      Thanks for your question.
      A huge number of variables is the answer. And the range of hedging plants is wide as well

      So (and these all assume barerooted plants, good soil, good light and sufficient water)
      beech - starting with 80/100cms plants - 4-5 years
      yew starting with 40/60cs plants - 6-7 years
      hawthorn - starting with 60/80 cms plants - 3-4 years.

      However with a 12m hedge already there conditions are unlikely to be ideal. There will be interference with light and a huge hedge like that will compete ferociously for water. It will also have taken a lot of nutrient out of the soil.

      You really need to talk to an expert on-site to see what is required, even if you intend to do the work yourself.

  • Anne

    Sadly I couldn't see a picture of the 90m bird friendly hedge in the Yorkshire Dales - the link took me back to the Ashrodge site and the description of the hedging.

    I would like to see a picture though so how do I set about it?

    Many thanks,

    Anne Champness

  • […] a great site for a seat for the twitchers in the family. On a bigger scale, if you look at our blog post you’ll be able to see 90 metres of our Bird Friendly Hedging planted on a […]

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