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A flowering hedge
Many of us have in the garden or on the terrace a hedge, small, large, enormous, with thorns, evergreen; there are various types of plants suitable for forming a hedge, even if evergreens are often used, characterized by dense and dense foliage, so that it can perform one of the fundamental functions performed by a hedge, or act as a dividing wall, by our neighbors, from a noisy street, between various parts of the garden.
Generally the most widespread plants such as hedge plants are not particularly beautiful decorative, they are simply plants that can more easily and quickly form a screen, possibly lasting for the whole year.
However, it is not always necessary for our hedge to be evergreen, and it is not always necessary for it not to be decorative: there are many easy-to-grow plants, which can be used as hedges, and which, if properly cultivated, can also give us a rich decorative flowering .
Deciduous flowering hedges
Often our hedges border an area of the garden, or are used to shade a very hot area in summer; it is not always necessary that the screen produced by the hedge is present all year round, there are many cases in which a deciduous hedge can serve its purpose admirably, even if in winter it is devoid of leaves.
For example, many of us have the area near the barbecue screened by a hedge, because when we prepare the barbecue with friends we prefer not to become a show for the whole neighborhood; or you happen to shield the area near the pool or the sunbed with a hedge. Clear that such shields are essential in spring and summer, but in November we will hardly organize a barbecue, and just as difficultly we will decide to dedicate ourselves to nudism in the garden, especially if we live in the middle of the Po Valley.
There are therefore many hedges that could easily be made up of deciduous plants, because their shielding purpose is essential only during the summer.
In these cases, instead of using a very common evergreen hedge plant, we can choose deciduous species, perhaps even having a beautiful and rich flowering.
The most classic are the forsythia hedges, the butterfly tree (buddleja), the Japanese quince (chaenomeles japonica) and the lilac (syringe); these are easily cultivated shrubs, which can easily be grown alongside each other, without suffering damage due to frost, and which do not require special care. In the nursery they are easily found, and in recent years special varieties have been introduced, such as the lilacs with the flowers with the strangest colors, including those with very dark flowers that have a white border.
In the nursery it is also easy to find shrubs with a fairly compact development, suitable in those cases in which the hedge is a simple partition in the same garden, almost a border, but flowery; in this case we use abelias, weigelia, kolkwitzia, or even the very common roses, in essence it is a valid flowery substitute for common dwarf boxwoods.
Very beautiful and easy to cultivate all those deciduous shrubs with a beautiful spring flowering of a pure white color, such as deutzia, amelanchier, spirea, raphiolepis, angel flower (philadelphus coronarius). The hydrangeas are also excellent for forming a hedge, although in general they do not become very tall, or even deciduous hibiscus, which continue to bloom throughout the summer.
Evergreen or climbing flowering hedges
There are also many evergreens with a rich flowering, often commonly spread as hedge plants, such as pyracanhta and cotoneaster, perhaps among the most widespread berry hedges in Italy; also the mahonia and the oleander are very common, the first has a beautiful yellow bloom in spring, with intensely perfumed honey flowers, the oleander instead produces flowers throughout the summer, and there are also varieties with double flowers.
Camelias and rhododendrons are interesting for creating a hedge in the cooler and more humid areas of the garden, always with a soil for acidophilic plants, otherwise the leaves will turn yellow and the shrubs will deteriorate quickly.
Among the "novelties" of recent years we find grevillee, leptospermum, callistemon: evergreen plants a bit bizarre, with summer bloom, which often fear intense and prolonged frost, and therefore are not suitable for all Italian gardens.
The most widespread creepers, generally used as hedges or shields of terraces or part of the garden, are certainly the trachelospermum jasminoides (to which we can also assimilate the various white jasmines, but only in the hottest areas of Italy), also called jasmine evergreen, which produces a cascade of white flowers for long months, and wisteria, deciduous creeper, with a beautiful spring bloom, which sporadically recurs over the warm months.
In the coastal areas also the bougainvilleas are often used as hedges, with their splendid flowering they definitely become one of the main and most striking plants of the garden, but only in areas with mild winters.
Flowering hedges: The pruning of flowering hedges
All the plants used to make hedges produce flowers, and many of them have showy and decorative blooms; pity that the exuberance of some varieties of plants, and of some gardeners, leads us to drastic pruning already at the end of winter, which generally go to remove most of the future buds.
Having the patience to wait after flowering to "fix" the hedge, and to conform it to our mental hedge ideal, we could also enjoy the splendid and rich white flowering of the photinia, a pity that every year, starting in February, we see various beings , equipped with cesie, which go to cut the flowers of photinie, cercis, viburnum, pyyracanthe ...
To enjoy one flowery hedge certainly it is important to choose the most suitable plant, just as important is to know the characteristics of the plants that we are planting; if it is true that hybrid roses produce flowers only on new wood, that of new shoots of which we stimulate development through pruning, it is also true that if we plant a cercis at the end of winter we are removing most of the floral buds, which the plant it produces only on old wood, and the new branches produced in spring will not bear any flower.
So, when we plant a new shrub in the garden, we try to learn about it: if it produces flowers only on old wood, or if it prepares buds that bear flowers already in autumn, then we will only prune it after flowering, we will be able to enjoy it in this way of the spectacle of the blossoming flowers, the more beautiful the larger the hedge is.
If, on the other hand, the plants we choose will produce flowers only on new branches, those that will begin to produce in spring, then pruning can be done already at the end of winter, to stimulate the production of new branches, which will bring more flowers.