No it is not a euphemism for anything rude, it is, of course a cross between a fence and a willow hedge!
The lower garden has one huge fault: it is adjacent a busy A road. There is a hedge bordering the road, mainly consisting of beech and bramble, but we have to keep this at a height of no more than a metre, otherwise we can’t see down the hill to be able to get out of the drive.
The previous owners had put in an additional drive/parking area down the road side of the garden. I’ve decided to keep it, rather than go through the hassle of digging it up again, (I’d be surprised if anything would grow there anyway) and plant a hedge alongside it for privacy and noise reduction for the rest of the garden. I looked into many options, beginning with fences. I looked at B&Q and Travis Perkins, but the cost of fencing was huge. The stretch I needed to cover was 24 metres.
So, after giving up on that option, I looked at hedging. The cheapest is beech, but I don’t like the way it looks and it also seems to take ages to establish. I don’t like conifers either, but I do quite like laurel. It’s thick and bushy and evergreen – perfect. Except that it’s slow-growing, and by the time it would be tall enough to screen the kids playing on the swings, they’d be off at university or somewhere! Again, I couldn’t really afford to buy trees of any kind that were already at a reasonable height.
Then I came across willow while I was browsing hedging plants on ebay. It seemed ideal as it grows 8-10 feet per year! You may have heard of living willow domes, well this will be a living willow fence. Ok, it isn’t going to provide the best sound barrier, but over the years I can coppice it and stick the fresh cuttings in the ground to constantly make it thicker. I looked around, but the best place to buy it was ebay, so this is what I bought:
48 already growing, 5-6 foot rooted willow plants. £160
100 5 foot rods £47
50 4 foot cuttings £17
100 10 inch rods £15
All costs include the postage and packaging, and all but the 10 inch rods were on ‘buy it now”, so you can get a good idea what it would cost you if you’re interested in doing something similar. BTW don’t tell my husband!
I actually ordered the 4 foot cuttings by accident, but it was needed to fill in some gaps, and I’ve planted quite a few in the upper garden which will hopefully grow tall quickly and give us privacy from the neighbours opposite. Ordering a variety was a good idea I think; the rooted plants already have several side shoots, so they’ll provide the bushiness; the 5′ rods were good sturdy and strong uprights for the structure. The 4’ cuttings were thinner and more flexible, so I planted those at an angle to begin the weaving in and out, and all the 10″ rods were planted at an angle to be woven at a lower level.
I planted them just after the snow at the beginning of February, and all the rods and cuttings now have buds beginning to shoot. Amazing! The rooted trees are still dormant, but they are green when I scratch the surface, so I think they’re still alive. I can’t wait till the summer when they’re well on their way. I’ll post again with new photos when things start to look different.