Pleached Hornbeam Trees
At our visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show we were pleased to see the use of the elegant native hedging Carpinus Betulus – Hornbeam – in many Show Gardens and displays.
Diarmiud Gavin’s Chelsea Show Garden 2011 (famous for the pink hanging pod) had the most beautifully shaped trees and shrubs including Hornbeams shaped as cones. We were also pleased that Diarmiud used a large Photinia Red Robin Tree as a main feature for contrasting shape and colour. (Photinia are often avoided by garden designers as being too commonly used but they make an excellent ornamental shrub, hedge or tree, they look good at any time of the year and can be grown by anyone in any position).
Hornbeam As Hedging
Hornbeam makes a wonderful contemporary green backdrop to other smaller trees and shrubs. Native to Britain, and similar to green Beech, the Hornbeam can be used for hedging but are most often trained onto tall frames, and used as a contemporary hedge or screen above the fence line. Hornbeam are also grown on frames bushy from the ground upwards to create a simple, green living panel against a fence or wall. These frames can also be used as a stand-alone panel to create a backdrop to a special garden ornament, urn or sculpture (as can be seen in the photo below of Paul Vanstone’s stunning sculptures at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011 with our Hornbeam Frames behind).
Hornbeam are deciduous but the leaves will keep their form over the harshest winter months, even though their foliage turns copper/brown from November to February. The leaves are dark/mid-green and they have dense bushy foliage in the Summer months (March to November). Slow/medium growth rate Hornbeam cope well with windy positions and can be grown in heavy clay soils.