‘Untidy is good!’ Gardening expert shares why you should keep your hedges longer

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Neat hedging, striped lawns and pretty borders of flowers look beautiful in the summer months, especially when the weather is dry and sunny. However, while trimming your hedging and holly may seem like a good idea, a gardening expert has shared how keeping your hedge more messy could be “good” for certain wildlife. Wildlife such as pollinators and birds often like to make homes in our gardens which means some of our most-prized hedges and shrubs could be home to a host of different species and insects.

Managing Director of Hopes Grove Nurseries, Morris Hankinson shared which plants are the best for pollinators.

Hopes Grove Nurseries was established 27 years ago and grows approximately one million hedge plants in 50 acres of land in Tenterden, Kent.

The nursery also delivers fresh plants to thousands of customers across the UK, and over the last year they’ve seen record numbers of people buying from them.

The nurseries also regularly supply plants for the ITV show Love Your Garden.

Mr Hankinson said hedges are a “big part” of what they do at Hopes Grove Nurseries.

He explained: “If you’ve got a native kind of hedge, don’t keep it clipped too tight.

“Don’t try and be too formal with it.

“My advice would be to trim one side one year and trim the other side the next year so you’ve always got two years of growth.

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“Then you’ll have the previous year’s wood that will make flowers and then develop fruits.

“If it’s cut really square and tight two or three times a year it never flowers.

“Although in theory you’ve got all the right species, they’re never actually getting to produce the flowers that are beneficial to the pollinators.”

Mr Hankinson said a lot of people who love their gardens may think they need to trim everything back because it’s looking untidy.

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“But actually, untidy is good,” he added.

He also said if you leave it more untidy you will have all the flowers in different seasons blooming.

You will get buckthorn in the early spring when it’s still quite cool.

Then you will get single flowered wild roses that tend to keep going through the summer.

Native hedges to the UK include holly, dog rose and wild privet.

It’s also not recommended to cut hedges from March to August each year which is the main breeding season for nesting birds.

Sometimes this may change depending on the weather, however, it’s always best to check your hedges before cutting them.

Hedges can support up to 80 percent of the UK’s woodland birds, 50 percent of mammals and 30 percent of butterflies.

They also provide habitats for frogs, toads, newts and reptiles.

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