In the lingo of finance, a hedge has nothing to do with greenery, at least not the greenery that can photosynthesize. In horticultural lingo, a hedge is a group of shrubs or small trees planted for usually very practical reasons, like defining garden edges and property lines, screening views, and sheltering wildlife. Planting a hedge might also be a kind of peace-keeping mission: Good hedges, like good fences, can make good neighbors.

Early fall is a fine time to ponder hedge options, but it’s not always easy to get a clear picture of which options are suitable without first seeing established plantings. For that reason, we’ve prepared a map of locations, most within just a few blocks of Berkeley Hort, where you can take a look at established hedge plants that are usually offered for sale at the nursery. When you look at these plantings, you’ll want to compare features like shrub shape and size and leaf and bark texture and color. We can fill you in on details about the plants’ water needs, rate of growth, and less obvious things like cold and heat tolerance, and ease of maintenance. Of course, whether a shrub species will work in your situation will depend, as with most plantings, on the particulars of your site: soil type, degree of slope, sun exposure, and access to water, etc. And naturally one consideration might also be how the growth habit of your chosen hedge could affect a neighbor’s sunlight or view.

Good hedge bets: Since the nursery’s inventory is always changing it’s not possible to predict exactly which hedge plants will be available this fall, but some of the species we’re aiming to keep in stock include selected varieties of Pittosporum tenuifolium and P. eugenioides, Prunus laurocerasus, Myrica californica, Rhamnus alaternus, Escallonia, Camellia japonica and C. sasanqua varieties, Dodonaea and Podocarpus

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