Designing our hedgerow

Original area ©Janet AllenWhat this area looked like when we moved in about 30 years ago

When we moved in, there was a huge weeping willow (which is NOT a native willow), but it fell down about the time we bought the property.

Since we were on a corner property along a public street and since this was in the heyday of people becoming paranoid about children being stolen, we soon fenced in the back yard. We did not yet understand that the only place a child or a dog does NOT want to be is inside a fence.

Flower bed in 1992 before becoming a hedge row ©Janet AllenFlower bed in 1992 before becoming a hedge row

Before our habitat garden, we had an ornamental flower bed along the fence, with lawn running from the flower bed down to the road. It was a who's who of typical non-native ornamental plantings: sweet allysum, daylilies, forsythia, lilac, marigolds, pansies etc. etc.

After learning about the importance of shrubs not just for birds, but for other wildlife, we decided to create a hedgerow.

Rose ©Janet AllenNative rose

We planted shrubs, which provide nectar, for berries, for cover, and for raising young. Most of the shrubs that provide berries also provide nectar when they're flowering in the spring. Some of the more dense shrubbery provides cover and nest areas. We also planted some evergreens (Arborvitae) and some thorny shrubs— the native roses Rosa carolina and R. virginiana). Although the thorns can be annoying while working in the hedgerow, they're helpful to birds since they keep some predators out of the area.

Hedgerow in spring(Enlarge) ©Janet Allen
Hedgerow in spring

This is the hedgerow in spring. The large shrub with horizontal lines of white flowers was a doublefile viburnum. It's not a native viburnum, so it has since been removed and replaced with some St. John's wort.

Hedgerow in fallEnlarge ©Janet Allen
The hedgerow in fall

The hedgerow can be quite colorful in the fall with the sweetspire (Itea virginica), the red chokeberries (Aronia arbutifolia), the black chokeberries (A. melanocarpa), and others.