Very excited by selecting the components of the mixed native hedge we plan to grow (think ‘child in sweet shop’), I had saved the somewhat complex order, ready to send to Glebe Farm Hedging, when I noticed a neighbour had put in a new hedge around one of their paddocks. WITH RABBIT GUARDS. Rabbit guards! How could this have dropped off my radar? (In the spirit of not turning the field into a fortress following many dire predictions of rabbit/deer/badger apocalypse certain to befall my fruit and vegetables, I think I may have moved quickly past this chapter of the hedge planting manual.)
My husband sensibly suggested that we just try a trial section of the hedge without guards and see what happens to it. All very good. So I cut down the order from 66m to…12m, and then getting in to the spirit of it, in half again to 6m (24 plants). The whips (small trees) arrived last week and we planned to plant them on Saturday.
We began by removing the turf from the 1m x 6m strip. Well, I say ‘we’, but in this case, I didn’t have much to do with it (being well acquainted with the difficulty of this particular operation having just finished making the raspberry beds). Then I forked the strip over – by myself because my husband was feeling it a little by this point. The forking was Not Easy due to the enormous quantity of flint mini-boulders lying just beneath the turf level. Having extracted the boulders, we then had to dig two parallel trenches in which to plant the whips – at which point we discovered that I hadn’t quite removed all the boulders. 3 meters and a large pile of rubble later we could both barely stand any more and was apparent that this was the maximum length of hedge we could realistically plant in one weekend.
So, in view of this, I’m really very glad I didn’t order all 66m of plants in one go. And thank you to the (real or imagined) rabbits for pointing this out.