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Saturday 14th May, 2022

Hi

It was hands on in the nursery for me yesterday as there was a big delivery of plants that needed space to be made so we could get them on display. It was a years supply of everything from Wisterias, oak leaved Hydrangea and deciduous shrubs like Viburnums, Smoke bush, Mock orange, not to mention the more collectible Snowberry, Beauty bush, Winter sweet and ornamental quinces . Add to that shrubs that fruit like pomegranates, NZ cranberry and gooseberry. I imagine that you get the picture, it was a lot of product and one of those situations that when you look there is always room to be made with quite a bit of juggling. 
First step was to take away the frost tender stuff, not that we carry too much, and protect it under our amazing olive tree. Just got that done in time for last night's first zero temp. Second step was to re-group and re-block all the shade loving plants out in our Bay 16. Then we collect all the different genus together so they can be easily found. In reality, once you get on a roll then it just seems to happen and voila we created a whole brand new area for all the deciduous shrubs.
It was while we were moving all the shrubs around and creating an area for all the Buxus and hedging plants that set me thinking about all the hedging plants that we have and what could be used. In reality the choices are endless because when you trim something it forces a bushy growth that could be harnessed into a hedge or border. This is where it gets a tad more interesting as some plants are more tolerant of being constantly hacked into shape and others only so for a while before they get patchy which potentially is the life span of the hedge. Its easy to forget that all plants actually have a life span just as we do. 
Then I always feel that all plants suit being kept at an optimum size relative to that plants natural size and habit. For example I don't think that you would try to keep a sasanqua Camellia like Early Pearly to 50cm high for example but rather a minimum height of around 1.2 metres. Of course, as always in the plant world there are exceptions and you could perhaps choose a dwarf Camellia like Baby bear or Sweet emily kate which would make the perfect 30 to 50cm border. It's easier to grow a small plant up to being a small hedge rather than cutting large plants down.
So, what are the desired spacings for a hedge, well I have heard the idea to space the plants at half the desired height. I have always suggested that external hedges be planted at one metre apart regardless of ultimate height though a small grade could be planted at 70cm apart. Internal hedges will depend on grade and plant, anything from 20 to 30 to 50cm apart. An example or two, Buxus Green gem as a tube grade (5cm pot), plant at 20cm but could do at 30cm. Normal grade Buxus at 30 cm. Gardenia veitchii 50 to 70 cm. Teucrium 50 to 70cm.
Not all hedges need to have the short back and sides look although perhaps with age and maturity this may be the only way to keep them to the desired height. You may well like to have that informal more fluffy look which gardenias could make.
Larger plants for larger Hedges
I imagine that we all know the popular choices that are around and Camellia sasanquas are up there in my favourites for hardiness and longevity. There are many sasanquas to choose from and its probably best to check them out for the flower that you like the best. Yuletide is a goodie with its red and yellow contrast flowers. Setsugekka is a classic with its fried egg sunny side up flowers or the pink and white of Gay border.
Griselinias have been popular for the past few years as a quicker growing choice. attractive lime green hedge looking quite contemporary, like sun and semi shade but must have well drained soil.
Ilex lago is a holly without prickles as such, a tad slower growing but makes for an awesome hedge of around 1.2 to 1.5 metres. This one will love the sunny position that could tend to be on the dryer side. Great solid foliage looking somewhat like a bay tree hedge.
Podocarpus Gracilior belongs to the Totara family with really attractive lacy lime green foliage and trims into an amazing living wall. This fern like conifer is fine with being trimmed and is often used to create standards these days.
Photinia Red robin is an oldie but a goodie renown for its bright red new foliage which changes back to green. Hardy and easily grown.
Viburnum Dense fence is a new one on the block. Bold sage green leaves and will trim into a fabulous living wall.
Ake ake or Dodonea Viscosa, I spied a pretty cool hedge in the green form of Ake ake the other day down Ponsonby road outside an ice cream parlour. I imagine the purple form that we currently have would make for an equally neat hedge just in a different shade.
Medium and small hedge choices
Westringa or Australian rosemary which will tell you that this is a plant suitable for sunny and well drained positions in the garden. There are some really modern choices these days in the form of fancy hybridized varieties that are all with a PVR (plant variety right and can only be grown under license). Typical rosemary-like shaped leaves in the shades of grey and blush green, and flowers too. These ones make for pretty cool hedges Check them all out from Aussie Box, Grey Box, Mundi and Naringa.
Ligustrum rotundifolium with its significant dark green leaves, this one is extremely hardy and only slowly grows to around a couple of metres. One for full sun.
Evergreen Azaleas make for great hedges in the right position being probably morning sun. Kirin is the one that we have had in the garden here for probably over 20 years. Its a kurume species and does really well but check them all out and trim after flowering.
Escallonias another small flowering shrub that will make for a great small more informal hedge and of course you get the bonus of flowers! Usually small leaved like Buxus but perhaps more informal due to its growing habit. 
Euonymus Emerald Gem is very much like a buxus substitute with very similar leaves albeit more glossy. If you love formal then this could be the one for you with either a bush or standard rose behind.
I'm sure if you wanted some hedge suggestions then one of them team will be able to help particularly if you want something a bit different. Take Loropetalum probably not something that springs top of mind for a medium hedge, yet its a great plant, evergreen, flowers, trims well, what more could you want.
We are doing a final clearance on the last of the roses we have in stock. Rose Bushes and climbers are now marked down to $15.00 each, Standard Roses have been reduced down to $25.00 each. Come in store and view the stock available.
I am always amazed at how fast the weekends roll around and there is always so much to do here. Especially with the potting season now only around three weeks away. We always have a list of projects to get done prior, like some more planting now that its Autumn, sometimes we just run out of time. This is the best time to plant especially a project like a hedge. Do the ground work, plant it properly and you will reap the benefits for many years. Some of the hedges that get maintained here in the nursery are knocking on for 30 years.
Enjoy these glorious Autumn days and have a great weekend 
Cheers Lloyd, Tony and the Wairere team

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Wairere Nursery
826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton 3281 Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: