When most people think of hedges they imagine evergreen privacy screens, property boundaries and flower borders - but what if you could find a hedge with all of these features that also offered tasty treats? Well, that's where edible hedges come in. Edible hedges have all the same qualities as a traditional hedge, with the delicious addition of branches laden with fruit, berries and nuts.
Growing an edible hedge is not only a great way to add character to your garden, but you may also find that the many uses of this type of hedge will surprise you in the best way possible.
Sourcing your own food from an Edible hedge:
Whether you prefer foraging, cooking or the simple pleasure of 'growing your own', an edible hedge is the perfect way to enjoy fresh food for free. Edible hedges can provide a wide variety of fruits, nuts and herbs, and all it takes is a quick trip to the back garden to top up your supplies.
Foraging is a great way to use your natural food resources and learn about the flavours and fruits each species has to offer. Your kids and grandkids will love the excitement of finding clusters of bright orange berries on your Rowan hedge and the novelty of eating fresh berries straight from your Blackberry bush. And the best thing is, rather than ending up with a selection of random fruits from your local hedgerow, you can choose which species to include in your very own garden hedgerow, leaving you with your favourite berries and nuts to find, forage and feast on.
The fruits and berries you can pick from an edible hedge will supply you with an assortment of flavours to experiment with in the kitchen. From Rose Petal jam sourced from your Dog Rose hedge, to Wild Cherry brandy and Elder Flower cordial, there are endless hedgerow recipes to keep you busy once the cropping period is over.
Edible hedge wildlife:
With such an array of berries decorating your edible hedge, you won't be the only one filling your boots - If you're willing to share your wealth of tasty treats with birds, you'll be rewarded with a rise in the number of feathered friends that visit your garden, providing you with a wonderful wildlife show. And if you're not willing to share, tough! Remember it's the early bird that catches the worm (or in this case, eats the berries).
Edible hedges also attract other wildlife species, such as insects, hedgehogs and squirrels as the combination of flowers, fruits and foliage creates a thriving biodiversity within the hedgerow.
Other benefits of an Edible hedge:
It's not only the food produced by edible hedges that makes them a wonderful feature in any garden, but the diversity of colours, fragrances and textures offered as well. And with edible hedging, you have the opportunity to grow your hedge as a single species or create a mixed hedge in order to achieve an interesting combination of, for example, beautiful Crab Apple flowers, spiky Hawthorn branches and the aroma of Lavender, creating an explosion of energy in your garden.
Some edible hedging species also have evergreen foliage, such as Rosemary, providing year-round colour, and other varieties such as Hawthorn are dense enough to use as a screen, providing privacy whilst also working as an intruder deterrent.
Choosing to grow an edible hedge will open your eyes to the array of interesting features that can be offered by a single plant. If your dream is to spend your mornings foraging for berries, your afternoons baking with freshly picked ingredients and your evenings watching birds sampling your fruits, then an edible hedge is right for you.
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