I’m indebted to DEARA (that’s the Department of Agriculture, Environment And Rural Affairs) for the ‘reveal’ image of a mature hedgerow with specimen trees standing proudly out from the otherwise annually pruned hedgerow.
I knew that our package of hedging included specimen trees, when we acquired the bare root saplings from TreesPlease and planted them seven plus years ago. But over the years, especially in the years when my new petrol-driven hedge clippers wantonly trimmed everything into neatness, I’d forgotten just where they’d gone in.
This year, trimming everything by hand, I had just enough time in my efforts to avoid cutting back the specimen trees amongst the prickly new shoots of the hawthorn and blackthorn ‘forest.’ It really is quite a forest, involving some 200 trees in a linear, rather than a wider, array. But now, thanks to my slow-time perception, I’ve revealed some six different specimen trees strategically positioned at intriguing points along the hedgerow.
Sometimes the person who planted all those trees, that person who was me seven plus years ago, decided to go for specimens in the corner, and other times they’re kind of randomised within the longer rows. I now barely remember what kinds of trees they actually are. According to TreesPlease, the classic North Pennines hedgerow package consists of 70% hawthorn, 20% blackthorn, and the remaining mix includes crab apple, field maple
and hazel. Except that I do know that the hedgerow package we bought those years ago also includes roses. It’s conceivable that at the time we bought our package, the blackthorn was listed at 15% and the roses 5% with the others grouped into the remaining 10%. The roses have the sharpest thorns, I can say that!
Anyway, now that I’ve revealed the specimen trees, I can hope that they’ll stand out from the run-of-the-mill hedging, and that as they grow tall and taller they will punctuate the garden with their grace notes. Talk about mixed metaphors, speak to me more of mixed hedging!
And so, as I continue joyfully along in my hedge trimming odyssey, I’m taking care that I don’t miss the trees for the forest, while also delighting in the general shape and protective capacity that the hedgerow linear forest brings to the garden.