17 September 2011

Happy Hedgerows

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK



One thing I adore about rural England is the hedgerows that crisscross the countryside

Just recently I grasped the importance of them

I could just blabber on and on about them




Hedges have been an important part of the British landscape since Roman times, and some of these hedges still survive. In the ancient countryside of Devon and Kent, the majority of existing hedges are medieval. They were a valuable part of the rural economy - marking boundaries, providing shelter, food, and timber.

If you drive in the English countryside, try using ‘Hooper’s Rule’: count the number of tree and shrub species in a 30 yard stretch of hedge. This number will roughly equal the age of the hedge in centuries. They say this works back to 1,100 years ago. (Of course recent planted mixed hedges would be an exception.)

From 1947 to 1990, approximately 35% of hedgerows were destroyed to enable larger machinery to be used on farms. However, legislation was introduced in 1997 to protect hedgerows, which has led many hedges to be replanted or restored.




Hedgerows act as wildlife highways for many species, including cutie-pie hedgehogs, mice, voles, bats, and foxes. Of course, flowers are wonderful for the bees, butterflies, and other insects. Wildlife nibble on berries; birds nest in branches. It is quite a remarkable vibrant ecosystem. Yep, just one long nature reserve traversing the countryside!

Not only do hedges create great scenic value, they fence in livestock, clean the air next to roads, and act as a wind barrier and 'soundproofer'. As icing on the cake, they are a living wall that change color during the seasons. Makes me sing 'Laaaaa'!




An old English native hedge would have included a large variety of plantings. Hornbeam, beech, hawthorn, blackthorn, sweet briar rose, dogwood, hazel, and field maple still are used today. Throw in some holly, pyracantha, privet, viburnum, current, laurel, crabapple and/or spindleberry for a berry smorgasbord. Then dig in another ‘understory’ of plants and ferns to fill in at the bottom for a beautiful garden and animal refuge. Maintain it regularly to keep it healthy and thick (ooh, those are smoothie adjectives).




There are more than 30 styles of hedge-laying in different parts of the UK, depending on the climate of the area, local farming practices, soil condition, and types of trees and shrubs that grow well in the area. A few styles of hedge-laying are named ‘Midland Bullock’, ‘Welch Border’, and ‘Derbyshire’. And those names are not from Detroit, my friends.




Have I infected you with 'hedge-love' yet?!

Funny thing is, I thought I wouldn't have any photos for this post
Turns out, I've been clicking away at hedgerows since we moved here

Therefore, I can say...


all photos by me
:)





 

49 comments:

Belinda @ Wild Acre said...

How exciting to find someone who is as excited about hedgerows as I am! My daily dogwalk takes me past miles of hedgerows, and I have posted about them on several occasions and feel another one brewing now they are filling with berries. I just feel they are beauty thrown at our feet everyday, what a joy, seriously!! All hail the British hedgerow! :)

WinnibriggsHouse said...

Well done you, as a non native I am impressed and thrilled that you have fallen for our beautiful hedgerows! I live in rural Lincolnshire and I am afraid some of the worst clearing happened here. However I am happy to report a steady recovery. It's funny how after things are destroyed they are suddenly found to be there for a reason! Not all the 'old ways' are the best but this one certainly was.

Zosia said...

I spent 6 months in the UK some time ago and I fell in love with the greenery, the gardens and the hedgerows. They are so English to me as the Big Ben and tea in beautiful cups.

Pet said...

Such an English thing, isn't it? Rural England is like a tale.

Ellie said...

Well who knew there was so much to know about hedges. I learn a lot coming to your blog. :)

TexaGermaNadian said...

Love it, so green and lush. Almost magical. Europe really does the best gardens!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

What a great post, Laura! I love your photos. So verdant and pretty! You see, without the rain we get, we wouldn't have this lushness so late in the year!! That's what I try and think when I hear the familiar pitter-patter on the windows!!

Sarahx

Jane said...

What an intriguing and elucidating post, Laura - thankyou! J x

Sunray Gardens said...

The countryside is really beautiful there. Interesting history on the hedgerows.
Cher Sunray Gardens

Grammy Goodwill said...

What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing the information with us and the beautiful pictures.

MrsDG@TalesFromHomemadeHouse said...

There is nothing more beautiful than looking at an English country landscape...the original patchwork quilt! I grew up in the city but even here (until recently) hedgerows were a familiar part of the landscape, with most gardens sporting thick, neatly clipped hedges as the boundaries between their gardens and a neighbours, and between garden and road outside. These too support a vast and varied eco system of bugs and wildlife but unfortunately in recent years people are opting more and more for fences and walls...things that are streamlined and need little maintenance...which is a shame because the maintenance needed for hedges are paid back tenfold in the colours, shapes, flowers and garden visitors that garden hedges bring! :)

ann said...

You make me yearn to return, which, by the way, my friend and I are trying to come up with a plan to do that May after school ends.

Anne said...

Oh how I love the pictures you've posted. Thank you for visiting my blog, for your lovely comments & for following, too! I'm following you back!!

PS My mom is from Leicester :)

Cheers!

Sherri B. said...

I love our hedgerow here at The Little House. The one on side of the driveway gives us privacy from the road and behind the garage it is a fence for one side of the chicken yard...great for blackberry picking too!

The Bathtime Team said...

It's amzing how a 'visitor' sees our country. I'm in love with all that is British! With have hedgerows and trees down two sides of our rural garden. I love feeding the birds - they have their own multi-feeder in a quiet garden corner. They nest in the hedgerows and I help them find material by gathering grass and feather around a former fat cake feeder (idea from a bird feature in a magazine) and I hang it up. Think they like it as it's always bare days later, lol!

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I love hedgerows too...I remember that it made driving a bit more difficult when the roads became narrow, but they are so wonderful and make the countyside so beautiful that it is worth it. England is just the most glorious country, especially for anyone that appreciates plants and gardening.

T's Daily Treasures said...

I would love to live where there are hedgerows. I am an outside, country kinda gal who likes to walk for exercise, and yet I live in a desert country where it is hot, hot, hot; folks don't respect the environment and trees are cut down willy nilly. There used to be 4 beautiful big trees outside my balcony window. From the second floor, all I could see was treetops and sky, then a couple of years ago, the Ministry came around and said they needed to be cut down. Ugh! They were protection from dust and sun but no one seemed to understand that. I need green!
Gorgeous, vibrant images. Enjoy! Best wishes, Tammy

elaine said...

Happy hedgerows indeed - love this post

KimberlyJ said...

I was in Somerset UK this past spring and I am always amazed by the different shades of green. I get frustrated with the hedges near the road, I would be enjoying the landscaping and then can't see past the hedges.. quite different to the open farming areas of Wisconsin I grew up in, but somewhat similar to the thick woods where I live now, all you see are the trees that line the roads. We are nearing high fall color season, most beautiful time of year here.

Vapid Vixen said...

As I was going through these photos with my mouth hanging open in awe, I was wondering if you had taken them. They are simply gorgeous!!! Well done.

Magali @ The Little White House said...

Very interesting post as usual... Hedgerows used to be very important where I live too... and were destroyed (at least most of them) for machineries as well... The period when it was done is call "grand remembrement"... But there are still some remains of it: for example, the field behind my house as a tree right in the middle of it... So there used to be an hedgerow and a path there... I'm trying to "rebuild" an hedgerow with traditional plants in my garden... And I'm going to click on the links you add to your post. thanks!

Susan Kane said...

I have missed you, so much! Good to see you back!
We always had hedges on the farm, recognizing that the creatures were part of the system. Now, farmers have torn them out so they can farm more land. Torn out the trees and brush along the creeks as well. The result: flooding, loss of land, increase in rodents and pests.
Love your photos. I think I used one in a recent post. And I have one as the wallpaper on my screen. You are an amazing photographer.

Wendy said...

Beautiful photos and great post! Loved learning about hedgerows, very interesting!

Paul said...

The further north you get, the more the hedges are replaced with dry stone stone walls, of course, although they never disappear altogether.

The fields they section off are also very tiny too, especially by American standards.

One pain about hedges is that if the road is very bendy, you can't see very far ahead when you're driving!

beetree said...

Beautiful photos as always! I love seeing the hedges, and learning a bit about them, too. Definitely makes me itch to travel again. Until then, I'm thankful to visit through your blog!

Emily said...

I've been fascinated by hedgerows since the first time I read about them in a nineteenth century British novel. Thanks for providing history and beautiful photography to further educate me. I was an easy convert. :)

TriGirl said...

Stopping by from the Storytellers hop. The whole time i was reading this post i had "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now". I know Zeppelin isn't exactly conjured up by these images, but that is the only place i've ever heard that word. And now i know what it means! Thank you! I didn't know there was so much history attached to hedgerows.

me said...

What a fascinating post! I wish we did this in the states.
So functional and beautiful. Can you imagine?
You're photos are lovely too. Thanks for the education.

Landbohaven said...

Jeg kom lige forbi din blog.
Gode billeder.
Hvor er der smuk.
Tak for rundvisningen.

posiepatchwork said...

Oh such lush hedges, just coming out of Winter here in Australia + a massive prune, our front hedge will be glorious again, soon, love Posie

Melissa K @ Lulliloo said...

What a great post! I have a bit of hedgerow love, but there were so many things I didn't know. Cumbria has a lot of dry stone walls mixed in with some hedgerows, but most of my favourite walks are along the lanes near where I live with hedgerows. I'll be looking out for the different planting in my local area now - Melissa x

Vintage Country Girl said...

You just secured ANOTHER reason of why I want to travel to your great country. I always have, and wonder if I'll ever be able to.

The Beginner Housewife said...

I'm completely in love with your header!! It's adorable!! As for the photos this is a reason to travel to such a place! Living in Houston I don't get to see greenery liket his - but I want too! Beautiful!

Seeing as I just started my blog today I'm looking forward to all the new people I can meet! So, nice to meet you!!!

Robynne's Nest said...

Laura, what I love about you is that what I don't learn or discover here in England, you manage to come up with! I just love the hedgerows...the only downside is when I go for a walk I can't see over them...makes it hard for a sticky beak like me!! Robx

me said...

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Egretta Wells blog said...

How beautiful your photos of the hedgerows are and how well you describe their importance. I love this post, Laura.

Pom Pom said...

Hello, Laura!
I think my Colorado garden needs some hedgerows, don't you?
Well, we do have one hedge but it's just one plant. Isn't that amazing that you took so many photos, loving those hedgerows so much? I enjoyed your pictures!

I Dream Of said...

Gorgeous photos -- I never thought of the hedgerows of being much more than lovely... thanks for the education!

CHULALA said...

rural england z like this awsome tale ...
Check out my blog n lets follow each other i wuld xo much wnt to interview in my blog..thnx

chuchu-chulala.blogspot.com/

Andrea said...

We have been reading them and looking at them since we started reading fairy tales, and English landscapes are etched in my mind since then. However, i haven't been to England, much more to the countrysides. I am sure if i will, it is as if I lived my fantasy. But I've seen some parts of Europe and they look like cousins of what you described. Your post is so lovely and informative, and the photos great. Thanks for touring me along, i even toured your older posts.

Barbara said...

There is something about the English countryside that is just beautiful and makes me a little nostalgic! Great pictures!

Privet and Holly said...

Hey girlie, these
pics are dreamy.
You know that I
love hedges and
they inspired the
name of my blog : )
I'd love to see
what they look like
once the autumn
colors arrive, so
please share MORE!
xx Suzanne

lisaroyhandbags said...

Great post! This is one of the things i loved about Ireland too - driving the countryside through the mazes of hedgerows and I'll never forget seeing speed signs of 100 on these narrow roads barely wide enough for 2 cars! And seeing them from above makes it look like a giant quilt :)

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I didn't even know what a hedgerow was until Robert Plant sang Stairway to Heaven. :) These are beautiful photos! So nice to learn more about your beautiful country.

flowers on my table said...

Wonderful photos, and a most interesting post. 'Spindleberry's' must look them up! I love hedgrow jam too! Have a lovely week, love Linda x

frecklesandfences said...

Wow, these are beautiful. Too bad I don't have anything like that in Florida! They'd probably wither anyway. Thanks for sharing your beautiful scenery.

Rural Revival said...

Infected? Most certainly! This post was like an aha! moment for me. This is why England is so beautiful. Aahhh!! : )

northsidefour said...

Having, on several occasions, come dangerously close to these lovely hedges, my husband shrieking from the left side of the car, I now feel even more grateful that I was able to get control and not blast out a good part of this beautiful English history. What a lovely post!

Bluebell Woods said...

Made me homesick. I live in Michigan and I have a group on Eons for ex pats as well as people who love the British isles. Well I did a post a long time ago on hedgerows. This reminded me again of just how unique and special they are. There is an art to keeping them up and a skill that I hope will keep on being passed down the generations to come, Love your blog
Janice