Hedging for Privacy

Phase l : Hauling Stones

There's a small side garden to the side of our property that we've been meaning to properly tier for some time now. As it's a hillside home, a big part of any renovation project is getting the materials up from the street. In this case one ton of river rocks. Today, I personally hauled just under a half ton. Two stones at a time. 26 steps. Then artfully chucking them in a flat group so my lovely husband can choose the ones he needs to build the walls. Who needs a gym? Even worse this is supposed to be Chris' vacation while the show he's on is on hiatus. Some break.  

Phase II of the side garden renovation.....the privacy hedge and of course it had to be during a heat wave. Undeterred, we arranged to have the 24" inch containers of "Podocarpus Gracilior" (also called "Fern Pine") delivered on Saturday morning.

On the subject of heat wave; let me backtrack a little about this choice of hedge that changed from bamboo. 

After careful consideration and even having visited different nurseries for healthy specimens of "Golden Bamboo" I had a change of heart. Although bamboo is a fast grower, it does require a lot of water to become established. Right now we are in the middle of a drought.

So, not wanting the stiff looking effect of some other hedges, and something that doesn't mind being trimmed to a slim profile and will reach heights of 20ft, I found the family of Podocarp trees and hedges.

First, what drew me to this genus of conifer is the look of the leaves that are very delicate and light in color. A hedge that creates privacy that doesn't look like an oppressive wall. Secondly, while it doesn't grow as fast as bamboo, it grows faster than some other slow growing hedges and doesn't require excessive amounts of water once it is established. It is considered drought tolerant as well. The amount of trimming depends if you want a formal or informal look.

The Fern Pine Forest is planted.

Some of things to consider when planning a project like this are:

a) Choose healthy, full plants. Ask questions, "Are all the plants from the same crop?" "How wide / full are they?" If you can't visit the nursery ask to have pictures sent.

We chose to go with more mature plants about 7 feet high in 24 inch containers. We found a supplier with beautiful specimens in Riverside that was willing to deliver www.plantclearance.com (speak to Peter or George).

In a matter of months with water and care, we'll have our own wall of green and dappled light.

You may, for example be able to find trees in smaller containers and pay less but it may take them a full two to four years to catch up with the larger ones. If you don't mind waiting you'll save money. 

b) Calculate carefully how many plants you need. This particular variety if being used as a hedge can be spaced 2 to 3 feet apart. for this project that means 8 plants. 

c) Once they're planted give them Vitamin B-1 with the recommended amount of water to help them avoid shock from the transplanting. Be sure to give deep watering for the first week.