Thursday, 29 December 2011


We are very fond of Hornbeam as hedging and have used it in previous gardens. It has the same lovely growth as Beech but tolerates wet clay soil far better. I bought 30 small whips a month ago but there is no way they can go in their final place for ages. Much digging and clearing has to happen first and with LP out of action*, the weather horrible and the way large jobs at Bag End don't keep on schedule, I know it will be well into next Summer before they can be planted.

The usual advice is to "heel plants in" until you are ready for them. This is all well and good but by the time I move these hornbeam they will have put down a strong root system. The answer then is to containerise them for the winter. The problem with that idea is that a root ball above ground in the artificial environment of a pot. If we get a winter even half as bad as the last two many of the plants will die.

Plan B, therefore, is to plunge the pots into a spare potager bed. Which may or may not work, but gardening is all about experiments, that's half the fun of it.

The Potager is looking a bit bare but I know what I want to do with it this year. Raspberry cages to build, more fruit bushes, move the fedge, and doubtless much more that I haven't thought of yet.

* shortly after returning from his Australian holiday, LP had a small accident. He's OK but coupled with endless rain and sodden ground it hasn't been possible to get on with the Rebuilding of Bag End. Fingers and toes crossed we'll get back to normal in a couple of months.


  1. Hornbeam always reminds me of the Philip Pullman Trilogy (His Dark Materials) as the 'window' from one world to the next was by the hornbeam trees. Does it help to space the hornbeam whips over more of the beds (if available) so they don't get their roots tangled in with each other, or won't it make any difference?

    All the best to LP for a speedy recovery.

  2. Hi Hazel, if you look closely at the top picture you can see a couple of pot rims. Each hornbeam has been potted up, hopefully when I come to move them the soil will have kept frost off and the roots will be nicely separate and protected.

    Fingers crossed LP will be back when the weather improves.

  3. D'oh - sorry - yes, I hadn't read the post properly! I don't think that you can do any more than you've done.

  4. This is always a problem isn't it? Bushes and shrubs do tend to be remarkably resilient though!

  5. Sue, last year I lost a few things in pots which were frozen solid for weeks so I wasn't taking any chances the the hornbeam. Of course, now we're having an incredibly mild winter ...


Thank you for leaving comments, I love receiving them; sometimes they are the only way I know I am not talking to myself . . . 😊