Creating and maintaining a pleached lime hedge

img_1907The pleached lime hedge in full summer splendor and below a week ago. 16_12_29_4654

The hedge was planted about 17 years ago as we were developing the structure of the garden.img060If you get the leaflet from the RHS on pleaching hedges then they suggest putting in metal posts with wires to train the horizontals as they grow. At the time I certainly did not have the time or inclination to set up the wires so I created a  frame using bamboo fixed to the trees themselves. img059Each year the hedge was tied in and, as the trees grow, new bamboo layers were fixed in place to train in the new growth.

The lime trees are Tila platyphyllos rubra and are under-planted with Rosa Alfred de Dalmas and Lavandula augustifolia Hidcote together with alliums and lilies. The alliums have been a great success but the lilies are no longer present.img061 The photograph above is about the third summer after planting.

27_05_16_2436The hedge above is at the height we have had it for many years. The bamboo frame has more or less rotted away and we think the hedge looks great.  .In spring the alliums stand out against the new leaves of the hedge and roses.2010_20100624_509And in summer the roses come into their own. In this photograph there are a lot of allium seed heads which I remove as I have found that leaving them results in far too many alliums the following year.2010_20100624_511Rosa Alfred de Dalmas is a Mossy Damask shrub rose with creamy pink, semi-double cupped flowers with yellow stamens, and a delicate sweet scent that attracts pollinators. It flowers from mid-June to November and benefits from lush foliage and tidy manageable growth. Its moss is greeny pink, turning to russet red on older shoots.

Hedge maintenance

17_01_04_4659Once a year there is a significant job to be done to keep the border looking good. 17_01_04_4660First the roses are cut back and any dead wood is removed. The vertical bamboo are a relatively new addition. I have planted a range of clematis that are designed to grow into the hedge to give late summer interest. It is early days but it seems to work. The clematis are Clematis Blue AngelClematis Perle d’Azur and Clematis Ville de Lyon.
17_01_07_4661The side of the hedge facing the lawn together with the top is then cut. I find it is best to do this with secateurs either reducing the shoots to a single bud or weaving the shoot into the structure as required.17_01_08_4665Almost complete, just the cuttings to shred ready for the compost!17_01_08_4662The finished hedge. A once a year job but it is worth it giving a unique pleached lime hedge.17_01_08_4664Technically the hedge is not a traditional pleached lime hedge which would have very distinct horizontals. 17_01_08_4663However, take a look at the pruned hedge and you can see that it creates an enormous amount of winter interest and makes an effective hedge.

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