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Riverside hedge: willow or box?

(10 Posts)
Swannykazoo Fri 21-Mar-14 13:58:35

Hi. I've got a little path along the River Ness at the bottom of my garden. We're getting the flat area at the top of the garden securely childproofed with fences and childproof gates. I'm thinking of planting hedging along the little path - partly in case someone slips and partly to neaten up a fairly scruffy / shrubby bank between path and river. Its west facing and relatively shady as its at the bottom of the hill, and not in danger of flooding.

I had a rush of blood to the head last week and bought 30 box plants in Lidl (my neighbours have a very smart box hedge along their path) Its just dawning on me that it might take some time to grow and all the plants will need dug in properly. I'm wondering if willow might be a quicker growing and easier planted option - think you just stick the sticks in the ground. Anybody had any experience of either?

PigletJohn Fri 21-Mar-14 14:06:39

box is really, really slow to grow. My three-year-olds might be about a foot high, and the plants are not yet big enough to have knitted into a hedge. And I am in the warm south, so have a longer growing period.

It is very easy (but slow) to grow cuttings to fill gaps. They grow twiggier rather than bigger, even though I have been tipping to shape.

Swannykazoo Fri 21-Mar-14 16:40:54

Thanks Piglet - think I've seen you over on the Archers thread btw. I suspect tropical Inverness might be better with a willow hedge and what you're saying is confirming these thoughts now I'm out of the frisson of shopping excitement that is Lidl "this week's special value"...
Any fun ideas for 30 box plants? wink

sunbathe Fri 21-Mar-14 16:42:31

How about a mini maze for thr kids?

PigletJohn Fri 21-Mar-14 16:53:12

stepover hedge or knot garden.

Swannykazoo Fri 21-Mar-14 17:15:26

I love the idea of a maze or a knot garden! Think DH would huff if I took over the lawn he's hoping to teach DS football on. I've got a bare grassy bank above the river - I'm wondering if I could do the outline of a Nessy monster in box - if I put it at the right level it could be visible from kids playpark over the river which would be fun...
I love garden planning when its sleeting outside

Methe Fri 21-Mar-14 17:18:34

Willow grows fantastically by water and it grows really fast. I'd avoid box at the moment. We have had record levels of box blight this year due to the weather. It'd be awful to plant it and lose it to disease.

UniS Fri 21-Mar-14 17:19:53

go for willow on a river bank. easy to plant . easy to care for. the root system will eventually help stop bank erosion.

Swannykazoo Fri 21-Mar-14 17:31:25

Excellent point about bank erosion prevention too. Hopefully the advert in the local paper selling willow slips will still be there today!#

UniS Fri 21-Mar-14 18:48:04

Up north as you are planting willow slips in March will be fine. I'm down south and its a bit late round here, but I made a willow play house in County Durham as late as April one year.

For the first year look after the new willow a bit. a weed proof membrane or a good thick mulch of wood chip around them will help them get established. Should be OK for water by a brook, but if we have a dry spell they will need watering this first year.

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