New native hedge planting

Native hedge planting providing additional autumn colour

Our new hedge planting is underway with around 100m of native Beech and Hornbeam set to replace the damaged and depleted hedge along the boundary at the County Hall/London Eye side of Jubilee Gardens.

Thanks to generous funding from The London Eye these new trees have arrived just in time to provide some spectacular autumn colour. The native hedge will keep some foliage year-round, creating visual interest as well as providing shelter, roosting, nesting and foraging opportunities for birds and small mammals right through the colder months. These native trees will also provide habitats for insects boosting biodiversity on this side of the Gardens.

The plants going in are already a substantial size so the impact is impressive and will only improve year on year as our new native hedge planting settles and establishes itself.

Native beech and Hornbeam hedge plants in a row after planting in Jubilee Gardens. Native beech and Hornbeam hedge plants in containers ready for planting in Jubilee Gardens. Native beech and Hornbeam hedge plants in a row after planting in Jubilee Gardens. Native beech and Hornbeam hedge plants in a row after planting in Jubilee Gardens.

About Beech and Hornbeam

Beech and Hornbeam typically have oval leaves which unfurl from pretty copper buds in spring. They are semi-evergreen, meaning they reliably hold their leaves except in very cold winters, with Beech’s leather-brown leaves usually hanging on until just before the new shoots appear the following spring. As native hedgerow planting, both Beech and Hornbeam are popular with wildlife — nesting birds including Great Tits, Blue Tits and Blackcaps prefer Beech, while Blackbirds, Thrushes, Finches and tiny Wrens favour Hornbeam. The catkins that appear on both Beech and Hornbeam each spring provide food for foraging birds and small mammals.

We already have a number of Beech trees but Hornbeam is a new species to Jubilee Gardens. At first glance similar-looking to Beech, Hornbeam is a tough, broadleaf tree with pale grey bark bearing vertical markings and can live for more than 300 years. Its twigs are brown-grey and slightly hairy, and with age the trunk can become twisted and ridged. Leaves are oval with pointed tips (similar to Beech leaves) but have serrated or ‘toothed’ edges, are smaller and more deeply veined. Autumn colours usually range from golden yellow to deep orange with leaves staying on branches through much of the winter. Flowers are in the form of catkins – both male and female catkins are found on the same tree. After pollination by the wind these develop into papery, green winged fruits, known as samaras.

You can find out more about other tree species in Jubilee Gardens here.

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