Product Trial : Hopes Grove Nurseries- Hedge-in-a-Box Kit

Photo: Prunus blossom from my hedgerow.

Visitors to my garden sometimes look surprised when they see the state of my hedges. They don’t often know what to say. Or they launch into a lecture offering kindly advice which usually involves grubbing out the rampant species and cutting everything back. I say nothing.

Truth is, I know the hedges are untidy. But I love them that way. There are gaps – but they allow ramblers on the lane to view the snowdrops. And me to watch the barn owls glide silently by at dusk. Yes, there are tangles of wild clematis, ivy and honeysuckle. Bees love the ivy flowers and birds love the berries. It’s a living tapestry of colour all year round.

Even the scruffiest, wild and untamed hedge provides nesting and cover for birds. A home for insects and small mammals. A microclimate, baffling the wind. Far better than any fence or wall, allowing frost to filter through and creating shelter.

Being a fan of all kinds of hedges, I made a beeline for Hopes Grove Nurseries at a recent garden trade fair in London. Hopes Grove are launching new themed hedging kits. I asked if they could design a florists’ hedge for me, and three days later my hedge-in-a-box arrived on the doorstep.

My new hedging kit contains a mixture of plants to give colourful stems, flowers and evergreen foliage. There’s a mixture of bare-rooted stock and potted plants including deutzia, escallonia, ribes, forsythia, hydrangea, mock orange, spirea. A lavender has been included as a sample of what the nursery sells. I think I’ll plant that in my herb garden. For glossy evergreen leaves there’s griselinia littoralis and osmanthus burkwoodii. And for winter colour there’s dogwoods with black, yellow, red and orange stems. My wild and untamed hawthorn hedge marks the boundary of my acre plot, but nearer the house and around the veg plot I’m going to plant a new mixed hedge, one I can harvest for my flower arrangements.

The plants, well packed, arrive in cardboard boxes. Boxes and paper packaging are all recyclable.

You wouldn’t know they have been packed in a box and been on a journey. The plants are really well grown and fresh. There are plenty of new buds on the Hydrangea Annabelle, and the osmanthus is just about to flower.

Bare- rooted plants are also substantial, well grown stock. We’ve heeled them in to the veg plot temporarily, until the ground is less waterlogged for planting. Each week I join in with the IAVOM (In a Vase on Monday) meme. I post a photo of what I’ve grown and harvested from my garden and take a look to see what other people all around the world are growing for their flower and foliage arrangements. Have a look at Cathy’s site to learn more.

Another new hedge-in-a-box kit is the Gin Makers’ Hedgerow, with fruit and berries for alcoholic infusions. There’s wild pear, crab apple, plum, and cherry amongst the long list of suggestions. And I noticed dog roses too, which grow freely in my garden.

Of course, my wild informal hedge might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s important to say that Hopes Grove supplies plants for more structured hedges such as yew, privet, box and beech. Plant sizes vary from economical one year old cuttings, bare rooted transplants, 2- 4 year old feathered whips, right up to 25ltr pots and troughs of well grown plants for instant effect. There are hundreds of plants listed in the catalogue.

Hopes Grove send out a well-written site preparation, planting and aftercare guide. Morris Hankinson is the founder of Hopes Grove and grew up in the tiny oast house on the small family farm that is now in the centre of the nursery site. Morris has grown the business from a “one-man-band planting, growing and selling hedging” to a nursery covering 50 acres and employing 18 local staff.

Contact Details: Hopes Grove Farm, Smallhythe Road, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 7LT. Tel: 01580 765600. E-mail : Click Here to visit the website. These are not affiliate links.

I’m delighted that Hopes Grove have asked me to trial this hedge-in-a-box kit. I love to hear of innovative ways of growing and selling plants. I’m very happy to wholeheartedly recommend their hedging plants and I’m grateful for the chance to give my honest opinion.

Hopes Grove won the Bob Maker Memorial Award for the best stand at the trade fair, the Garden Press Event in London.

Photo. Wild flowers – stitchwort- growing in the hedge at home.

37 thoughts on “Product Trial : Hopes Grove Nurseries- Hedge-in-a-Box Kit

  1. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday- spring flowers for Mum | Bramble Garden

    • Thank you Brian. We’ve been watching the tawny owls in the hedge tonight. Such a joy to see and hear them. Hope they breed this summer and bring their owlets to our garden again. We had two babies with us for a few weeks last summer. Thanks again for reading. All the best. Karen

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  2. Karen, your photos are magnificent. Happy Easter with delay. I love your wild hedges. They are beautiful and wonderful for birds, small mammals and pollinators. I adore you. My hedges are also wild but they are not as tall yet. The Prunus flower is very beautiful as is the Lonicera flower. Hope Grove Nurseries was very fast bringing you the plants: only three days. The large number of different species is huge! All are beautiful. They all look very healthy and full of buds and buds, like the Hydrangea. I’m glad you do another wild hedge! If you can, you will already tell us how it is growing and if all the plants have grabbed. It is a joy that you start a new project in the garden. I am still in Madrid because my Father is sick of the bronchi. As soon as he heals, we go to the country house. I hope in two or three weeks. Give your Mother memories and love from me. Karen to you, love and all the best. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

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    • Dear Margarita, so sorry to hear about your poor father. My mother had the same problem at Christmas, but luckily after a few days in hospital and some antibiotics, she made a good recover. Praying the same happens for your father too. The spring air will do you all some good when you move back to the country. Especially if the temperatures start to rise. Thank you, as ever, for your very kind words about my wild hedges. I’m looking forward to seeing my new florists hedge start to grow and I’ll be able to harvest lots of flowers and twigs for my bouquets for my friends and family. My youngest daughter is on holiday in New York with friends. I’m trying not to worry, but I shall be glad when she safely returns home. Take care dear Margarita. Greetings to you and your family. Love from karen xx

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      • Karen you are very kind to worry about my Father. Thank you very much. He is already better. It’s normal for you to worry about your daughter who is New York with friends. You’ll see how he comes home safe and sound. Love Karen. Loving greetings from Margarita. 🙂

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      • Thank you Margarita. My daughter is having a good time in New York. Will be relieved when she comes home though. The world seems such a dangerous place these days. So pleased to hear your father is much better. Mum came to visit today and we gave the potting shed a spring clean! Such a lot of dust. We felt quite proud of ourselves when it was finished. Greetings to your family. Love from karen x

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      • Karen is absolutely right. The world has become more dangerous with terrorist attacks and many other things. But do not worry, your daughter will come home safe and sound. I’m glad you’ve been with your Mother cleaning the shed together. Give love and memories from me. Karen, thank you for caring for my Father. Sees it. Loving greetings from Margarita.

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  3. Hello friend. Beautiful pictures and how exciting to learn about your hedge project 😉 I have no doubt that it will be just as lovely as your garden is now. I recently trimmed a massive amount of overgrown privet that was entangled with honeysuckle 😦 but had no choice to do so. The unkempt wildness was completely taking over my yard. I, like you, enjoy the natural gaps and unplanned without rhyme or reason look of a hedge over a fence or other “man made” structure and sometimes have to make the tough decision to trim or not to trim…have a wonderful day!

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    • Thank you for your lovely kind comments. Like you, I prefer a hedge over any other structure. We were so delighted to find woodpeckers nesting in the garden the year before last. And last summer we had a pair of fledgling tawny owls that stayed with us for a fortnight before becoming more independent of their parents. It was so fascinating watching them learn to fly. And the poor parents were flying day and night to keep them fed in the first few weeks, I’m sure they wouldn’t have stayed if the hedges had been more manicured. Enjoy your garden. All the best. Karen x .

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  4. Lovely post and pictures. I love hedges like yours which are home to so much wildlife.
    The hedge in a box sounds like a wonderful idea and product. It’ll be interesting to see how yours does. xx

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  5. I’m proud for you, great that you get to do a review on the hedge. Your pictures are so nice and sharp. The mention of honeysuckle, made me homesick for our old place way out in the country. We had a large amount of it all over the place, and the smell was heaven, on a cool Spring night.

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  6. So wonderful to have room for a wildly untamed hedge! I like the idea of being able to see through to the other side (beautiful photo of that) and of it being a home for wild things. I’m sure the new plants will complement it ideally.

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    • Thank you Jane. I’m resisting all suggestions that the hedge should be laid to thicken it up. I keep thinking of the families of long tail tits that nest each year in amongst the ivy at the back of the potting shed. They favour the untamed bits. Thanks for your kind comments. Karen

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  7. What a great idea! Anything to encourage people to plant hedges and ones that have a great use as well, will be following your follow ups with great interest

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  8. The photos are fantastic. But I don’t quite understand. Having extolled scraggly hedges you have sought out a kit to make them denser / fill the gaps . . . or will you be building contrasting / complementary hedges?
    A kind of p.s. – not sure how lavender ‘fits in’ with the other plants in your box.

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      • All clear now! (Even the lavender.) Thinking of hedgerows has made me homesick though. Kept waking in the night wondering if there is anywhere on the allotment where a honeysuckle could sensibly be placed. So much missing honeysuckle that I may have to plant one un-sensibly.

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      • Must admit, most (all) of my planting at home is not sensible. My Mum often sighs and says, that won’t grow there. I’m unrealistically optimistic. Sometimes I just like to see things thriving against the odds . I’d plant a honeysuckle up a cane wigwam if I didn’t have any vertical things to plant it through. I’ve got them at every gateway, sprawling uncontrollably, and reaching out to me as I pass by. I’ve been homesick in the past. Before I had the children I had to travel a lot for work. I would often be in a foreign land desperately missing home and not able to sleep. Everything changes though. Tomorrow is never the same as today, so things will get better for you Lucy. Much love – karen x


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