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blog post - rose hedges



When you think of hedging plants, the names privet, yew and box spring to mind. All easy to maintain choices. All evergreen. And all done to death and as uninteresting as vanilla ice cream. What if you could plant a hedge that would not only become a stunning garden feature offering flowers and scent but also double as a hard to breach garden boundary? There is. Roses flower from June to October and are a great way to define areas of your garden with colour and fragrance.

English shrub roses make some of the best candidates for rose hedges and can be pruned to varying heights, from 60cm to delineate separate areas of the garden to over 180cm for boundary hedges. They will repeat flower prolifically producing fragrant blooms from early summer until the first frosts. Their extremely thorny stems also act as a security feature causing would be intruders to rethink accessing your property.

Rosa ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ is a rose of exceptional beauty. Its soft pink petals are arranged in shallow cups delivering a knock out, fruity fragrance. It is a vigorous shrub rose that shows remarkably good resistance to disease.

I may have mentioned in the past, I’m a sucker for yellow roses. They are in my garden, on my dining room table and featured prominently in my wedding bouquet. Rosa ‘Charlotte’ is a stunning yellow shrub rose with a strong sweet scent. It’s bushy habit and excellent repeat flowering make it ideal for use as a floral hedge.

Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell’ has flowers of deep crimson that take on a tinge of mauve just before the petals drop. Described by David Austin as “one of the best and most healthy red roses we have bred to date” and unsurprisingly named after one of the most famous of the Royal Ballet’s ballerina’s. It’s compact habit makes it most useful as a low hedge to edge borders and spaces within the garden.

For something a little different, try Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamiliton’. It has an unusual rich tangerine colour highlighted with hints of red, orange and yellow which stand out beautifully against the dark green-bronze leaves.

For boundary hedges, you can’t beat Rosa rugosa. Though I prefer the white form Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’. Often see in the wild threaded through farm hedges, it has large single white flowers scented with a strong, sweet fragrance. Its ideal for added security as a boundary hedge as it can reach a height of 1.8m and spreads freely to form a dense thicket. In addition to its simple yet elegant flowers, it produces decorative orange-red hips in late summer/autumn. Everything you could want from a flowering hedge wrapped up in one thorny package. But if thorns aren’t high on your wish list yet you still enjoy white flowers, try the completely thornless Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’. The small white flowers are held in large heads (somewhat reminiscent of a hydrangea) and open from apricot coloured buds. But there is a trade in for the lack of thorns. Lack of a strong fragrance. Isn’t life unfair!

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