When it comes to hedges, a lot of emphasis is placed on maintenance and large open-plan gardens but hedging deserves a new spotlight as a creative and picturesque alternative to screening and privacy garden walls, whether that be in suburbia or on an apartment rooftop. Hedging doesn’t have to be limited to glossy green blocks of sculpted bush and to prove it we’ve put together eight of our favourite flowering hedges that promise to add pops of colour and wafts of sweet perfume to your garden during flowering.
The camellia grows with thick, glossy dark green foliage which turns slightly yellow during the warmer months. With dedicated pruning in the early stages of establishment, camellia is easily manipulated when it comes to how high it can grow. The camellia can alter between 1-4 metres in height, making it the perfect hedge for any backyard or balcony garden. When in bloom, between early autumn through to late winter, the camellia exuberates a vibrant combination of pink, red and yellow blooms. The flowers are short-stalked, arranged tightly around the centre bulb, slowly widening and fanning out the larger the flower grows. The camellia grows best in coastal regions of Australia, however, due to the delicate nature of its flowers, it is best to avoid areas exposed to strong winds and severe heat, so be mindful when picking a spot to plant your shrub in.
If you are looking for a low-growing hedge, then the daphne plant is the hedge for you. This neat compact bush has glossy leaves with showy round heads of four-petaled flowers. Blooming in early spring, the small blooms grow in bright shades of pink, red, purple and off-white. Daphne is best grown in coastal areas of Australia as it copes well with humidity and steady winds. Originating from Asia, this shrub has adapted aesthetically to be a spectacular combination of vintage cherry blossoms and tropical frangipani. Like frangipani, the daphne plant has a summery fragrance which is accompanied by tiny fruits. Daphne is a popular shrub for garden beds as it has a creeping nature which tends to offer a lot of ground cover.
One of the taller plants classed as a blooming shrub, the French lilac grows between two and four metres in height, with thin spindly branches that boast heart-shaped lime-green leaves. Due to the thin nature of the shrub’s foliage, it is suggested to plant French lilac in small groupings for a thicker ‘garden wall’ effect. French lilacs flower with large bouquet-like bunches of beautiful soft lilac to deep mauve blooms emitting a delicate scent, perfect for an indoor cut flower display. You’ll find the flowers nestled closer to the top half of the shrub adding a striking purple haze to your garden. French lilac thrives in coastal areas of Australia; however, they also tend to do well in drier, more western areas.
The hydrangea is most definitely a classic beauty of the garden. Growing between 1-1.5 metres in height, the hydrangea is a showy shrub thanks to its large globe-shaped flowers which bloom in shades of white, pink, lilac and pale blue atop big leafy foliage. The hydrangea has been coined the gardeners’ favourite because of its easy-care and rewarding grand display. When you think of cottage blooms and stylised hedging, hydrangeas are the perfect pick for a statement shrub in your garden. Hydrangeas are versatile upon establishment and will grow anywhere in your garden if the plant has partial shade. Be mindful that the flowers can burn in the sun during early spring and summer. Keep the soil moist and cut off dead flowers with secateurs to prevent the whole shrub from bowing over with the weight of its flowers which bloom predominately at the top half of the shrub.
If you are looking to add an array of blooming white or fuchsia flowers to your garden, then the rhododendron is for you. Popular for garden screening, rhododendron flowers blanket the two-metre hedge during mid-spring right through to the end of summer. When the flowers are dormant throughout the winter months the shrub displays vibrant mint-green foliage which adds a fresh spring feel to your garden all year round. Rhododendrons are popular along the coastline of Australia due to their tolerance of coastal winds. This shrub is easily manicured through pruning to bolster any garden bed or boost a divide between your garden and your neighbours’.
Rose of Sharon
Part of the hibiscus family, the rose of Sharon is a unique shrub due to its dual-coloured flowers. In bloom from summer to mid-autumn, the rose of Sharon blossoms with trumpet-shaped flowers, most often seen in shades of baby pink with a deep fuchsia inner petal. You will find this plant growing in coastal areas of Australia due to its love of direct sunlight and a steady breeze. The rose of Sharon grows between two and four metres in height, making it the perfect statement piece for a garden divider or showy garden bed.
If adding colour to your garden is not top on your list of priorities, then the viburnum is your go-to shrub. Viburnum offers large silvery-green leaves and small clusters of delicate white flowers. The viburnum is a popular choice for hedging and screening due to its versatility. With less pruning, viburnum grows thick foliage and produces small fruits with a light citrus aroma. The flowers and fruit will bloom in early spring. Expect the height of the shrub to grow to two metres and cover the area in which it’s planted very quickly. Viburnum is drought-tolerant and loves warm spring weather, which is the perfect time to plant and prune this fast-growing shrub. During the warmer months, you will find that the viburnum’s fruit will attract birds and bees, enhancing the ecosystem of your garden.
Weigela is a classic choice for any shrub border, famed for its deep red and pink blooms that flourish in early summer and boom slowly throughout the rest of the year with darker and more sparse mauve foliage. Weigela is also known by the name ‘fairy trumpets’ due to the small size and shape of its dainty flowers growing on long, cane-like branches. These plants are fast-growers, reaching their full size of around two metres in height after just a few seasons. When propagating weigela, pick a spot in your garden that receives full sun exposure. Weigela pruning is important. Mature bushes will benefit from the removal of older interior branches and should be fertilised once per year, preferably during the cooler months to prepare the plant for the next flowering season. If you are just starting out in the garden then you will appreciate the fact that weigela is subject to very few (if any) pests or diseases, making it an easy plant to grow for first-time gardeners.