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Plant an edible hedge

27 February 2015

Plant an edible hedge for a dual-purpose garden feature which tastes as good as it looks – and is really useful too!

Any kind of hedge is a wonderful asset to the garden, filtering wind to protect your crops and providing shelter for birds, beetles and frogs – your personal pest control army. However they do take up a lot of room: a mature hedge can easily reach a metre across. If you plant an edible hedge, though, you don't have to lose productive gardening space as you'll have all the benefits of a hedge but with a generous harvest to boot.

It's not difficult to find plants which give you a hedge and a harvest among the great shrub selection on sale in your garden centre. Blackthorn is laden with fat purple-black sloes in autumn to soak in gin for a Christmas treat, while elder is fast-growing and easy: make delicious cordial from the flowers or use berries in homemade wine, jellies and preserves.

Dog roses clamber through everything, providing you with health-giving hips for rosehip syrup, and snowy mespilus (Amelanchier), Cornelian cherries and even Myrobalan plums make great additions, too. Plant now and by autumn you can go hedgerow foraging right on your doorstep.

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