How to beautify your hedges with plants

By Jacquiline Nakandi

Nkwanga says plant hedges are designed from plants usually as live fences or short hedges along pathways.

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According to David Nkwanga, a gardener, hedges are of different types and designs. There are plant hedges, Metallic hedges, Brick/block hedges among others.  Each type may require a unique design to make it beautiful and appealing.

Plant hedges

Nkwanga says plant hedges are designed from plants usually as live fences or short hedges along pathways.  The height of the hedge will depend on the purpose and location.  When used as live fences, hedge plants are usually allowed to grow to the height of 3 - 5 feet above ground.  Common plants used for this purpose include kei-apple, cypress, podocurpus.

"Plant hedges along pathways and flower gardens within the compound are usually short (1-2 ft).  Some common plants used in Uganda for this purpose include Jorantas, Thorn apple, Rosemary among others," he says.  


Metallic Hedges

These are usually in form of fences made out of metal.  Designing with plants that blend well with the metal designs can make an impressive look.  Nkwanga explains that the most appropriate plants are either creepers like grapes and passion fruits or those with flexible stems such as Bougainvillea. 

"It is now a favorable trend to design with plants that can give both beauty and food. Well maintained grapes or passion fruits can come in handy here," he notes. 

He adds that what is crucial is the management of the plants through regular pruning so that the plant doesn't overgrow to an extent of attracting vectors and snakes.

 Photos by Jacquiline Nakandi

Brick/block Hedges

Nkwanga says one way to design with brick walls is to plant creepers which can cover the wall and make it green.  Such plants like the Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) can do this well.   One important factor is regular trimming.

Another method designing brick walls is to have top growth, here the plant stems are guided up to the top of the wall where the branches are allowed to branch-out, usually with the help of a metal frame. 

"If the plants are well maintained and they will give an impression as if they are growing on a top of the brick hedge.  Some good plants for this include Bougainvillea and White fantasy," he advices.

Nkwanga explains that the overall things to consider are to have a good base for hedge plants that has well drained fertile soils (you can achieve this by adding manure) and regular management and guiding the plants on how to follow the growth patterns you so desire.  Some plants like White fantasy can grow wild if not well maintained.