We have a lot of hedges around our property in Lazio, none of them in great condition. I’m not a fan of hedges, yes they can look good with a lot of work, I planted a nice informal one of Escallonia in Scotland that didn’t need a lot of attention, provided pretty pale pink and white flowers through the summer and was evergreen, but most hedges I know are far too wide and dead in the middle.
Here we inherited a large expanse of laurel that had been badly tended, it takes up too much ground, grows furiously in this climate and would benefit from three cuts a year, it gets one. Since we didn’t arrive until July this year, too hot for hedge cutting, the laurel took the opportunity to grow unrestrained and we’ve spent the last week or so trying to take back control. I tackled the side and as high as I could reach, Mr FF then pruned the top using a ladder and we contacted our neighbours who are back in Rome for access to deal with their side. We worked mostly with loppers and secateurs and Mr FF used a long handled electric hedge trimmer for the very highest branches. I did try to remove some of the width but didn’t want to take the sides right back to bare wood, perhaps I’ll do that in spring when it will quickly regenerate, now it would look ugly through the winter and we need all the cheer we can find.
My goodness it was hard work, we took down about 6 feet of top growth and removed as much of the dead wood in the middle as we could, the heap of cuttings in the orchard is enormous. It’s taken away some of our privacy but there is no one else here and we are getting a lot more light into the garden and the house plus of course we look much smarter and have more views.
Our neighbours on the other side had a similar hedge that they had taken right down to ground a few years ago revealing railings I’d never seen before as they’d been completely concealed in the laurel. It soon recovered and they’ve kept it low, about 4 feet high, so it’s easily managed. At least ours shouldn’t need so much attention next year after this drastic cut, I’ll let you know.
We have another small laurel hedge in the lower garden, it was two separate blocks but I decided to grow them together to make an archway. We cut that much quicker in early summer and as hedges go I quite like it but not as much as I like these blue sky we are getting.