Laying out the formal hedging in the new flower garden

Well the thinking and planning are over and it is now time to get down to the hard graft in the new garden.  We are starting with the planting of the new formal hedges as we want to get these into the ground and give the plants time to get their roots down before it gets too cold.

We could have used box or yew for this but have decided to go with Lonicera nitida.  With all the problems with box blight here in the UK we decided on the honeysuckle because it has worked very well for us elsewhere in the garden providing an excellent, dense dark green hedge which is easy to keep in shape and under control.  The hedging plants were sourced from Buckingham Nurseries (www.hedging.co.uk) and were delivered in 9cm pots ready for planting.

Having marked out the circle we dug down deeply and removed as many perennial weeds as we could.  We suffer from a lot of couch grass so try hard to remove as much as we can before planting anything new.  Many wheelbarrows of garden compost were added to improve the sandy thin soil before planting.

We would like to have added bone meal but the dogs just love it and we struggle to keep them off anything we plant.  We did add pelleted chicken manure and dug it all in well with our Mantis tiller (an excellent machine!).

Once prepared we covered the ground with weed suppressing membrane to reduce the future weeding around the plants.

To plant we cut slits in the membrane and planted the new plants about 1 foot apart (80 in all).  Having watered in well we mulched with wood chippings we had collected from tree pruning work last year (nothing goes to waste here!).

Last but not least is the final pruning of the new plants to help them get really bushy.  I hate this bit but it has to be done.  Each plant was cut back by half to make sure they will bush out well from the very bottom.

Voila!  Hopefully these will all settle in well and we will begin to see the formal structure of the garden develop in the spring next year.  A very satisfying job.

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