Vol. 1 Issue 2, Fall 1996
There’s nothing like owning a little piece of nature of your own. A hedgerow, even in suburban areas, is easy to grow and maintain, restful to look at, and a rich pleasure to children and grownups alike, as it develops into a home for rabbits, box turtles, butterflies, toads and birds.You can use an edge or corner of your own property, or join with neighbors to divide your land with these friendly natural fences. A string of interconnected hedgerows provides a corridor where wild creatures can live, move around, shelter and feed. It’s a great way to solve the problem of too much grass to mow – not to mention the boredom of too much grass to look at.
For trees, the Virginia Native Plant Society recommends box elder, cherry, crabapple, dogwood, hackberry, hawthorn, holly, I maple, mulberry, oak, paw paw, persimmon, scrub pine, red cedar, sassafras and serviceberry. For shrubs they suggest black haw, blackberry, blueberry, elderberry, huckleberry, the sweet-scented and graceful spicebush, sumac and winterberry. Climbers like the scarlet-flowered trumpet vine and purple-berried Virginia creeper add a graceful fringe. For low-growing plants at the edges, try asters, black-eyed susans, butterfly weed, violets and wild bergamot.
If that sounds ambitious, it isn’t. Any number of these may appear of their own accord as soon as you turn off the lawn-mower and welcome them. They’ll be joined by white Queen Anne’s lace, blue chicory, purple coneflowers, yellow jewel-weed, and an astonishing panorama of volunteer growth that changes and evolves each season, luring the birds and butterflies and small creatures that keep us humans company. If you think only dandelions happen when you stop mowing, you have a beautiful surprise coming.
For more information on Hedgerows, check out this great Hedgerows pamphlet.