The familiar evergreen hedge is a common site but you don’t have to settle for fifty shades of green if you want to inject a bit of colour into your borders.
Colourful hedges are the result of leaf or branch colour and there are several varieties of plant whose colour changes across seasons. With some smart choices you can create a beautiful border that retains vibrancy and interest throughout the year.
You can achieve some great results by contrasting different varieties of evergreen hedge, and by contrasting shades of green against one another, but when you can add drama through bright red leaves, as with Photinia, or use the red branches of Dogwood to brighten up the bleak midwinter, it seems a shame not to mix up your plants a bit.
Here are our favourite five plants for delivering knockout colourful hedges:
Choisya Golden Mexican Orange Blossom (choisya ternata ‘sundance’) is a medium height evergreen whose bright yellow foliage is dazzling in full sunlight. It likes normal soil, needs a bit of sheltering and has charming white orange blossom flowers.
If you shorten the Choisya stems after they have flowered, you can usually stimulate a second wave of yellow bursts to keep your garden glowing for longer.
With purple leaves and yellow flowers, Purple Berberry (berberis thunbergii atropurpurea) can really spice up your borders. It’s a low growing deciduous hedge plants whose prickly nature make it an attractive choice for intruder hedging.
Berberry has a few coloured alternatives including Red Leaf (berberis ottawensis x auricoma) and Rose Glow (berberis thunbergii ‘rose glow’ ); the latter features variegated leaves that are pink and cream, further adding to the drama in your garden.
If you want a high hedge that looks glorious in the Autumn, you cannot beat a Copper Beech (fagus sylvatica f. purpurea). It’s an easy plant to live with as it enjoys full sun and it’s a fast grower so you can achieve a nice height in short order.
Trimming your beech in late summer will encourage a final flush of growth before the winter, giving you classy coppery colourful hedges in the darker months of the year.
In the depths of winter, when evergreens are providing the only leaves around, the red branches of Common Dogwood (cornus sanguinea) are a refreshing addition to an otherwise barren hedgerow. With green foliage throughout the summer, which turns red before dropping in late Autumn, Dogwood also gives you small white flowers and dark shiny berries – a veritable feast of colour across the year.
If you want to really get your hedgerow humming, the bright red leaves of Photinia Red Robin (photinia x fraseri ‘red robin’) stand out from the crowd! This evergreen shrub delivers a two-tone effect contrasting the new red growth with more established green leaves as well as small white flowers and red berries, and because it enjoys full sun and requires little maintenance, if you only choose one plant to create some colourful hedges, this is your best bet!
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