Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Hornbeam: A Hedge for All Seasons

Search

Hornbeam: A Hedge for All Seasons

October 4, 2013

I count myself lucky to be the new owner of a stately 19th century New England home, complete with butler’s pantry and winding stair. The only blight on its historic character? A nasty chain link fence which surrounds the entire yard. And so I’ve been investigating hedges.

With so many varieties available, choosing a hedge is no small undertaking. Privet is nice, but I want something more…I don’t know…exotic. Hawthorne? I happen to have one bush out front. Beautiful, but one hair-raising trimming session was all I needed to dissuade me from a border of thorns.

And then my aunt told me about hornbeam. (Which she learned about from designer John Derian’s landscaper, Tim Callis, who happens to be a friend of hers.) Upon further investigation, I was sold.

Very similar to beech, hornbeam sports leaves of vibrant green during the spring and summer. Later these turn to golden yellow, before finally donning a winter coat of deep russet.

hornbeam_forest_marieviljoen_gowanus_nursery_gardenista

Above: Although the dense foliage of hornbeam lends itself to all kinds of fancy shapes or even a close shave, I prefer a scruffier, less formal, trim. To me it’s more romantic: more Pemberley; less Versailles. Photograph by Marie Viljoen.

llanover-garden-britt-willoughby-dyer-BN2A0406

Above: Both European hornbeam trees and their American cousins (with larger leaves) would rather be trees than hedges, all things being equal. Photograph by Britt Willoughby Dyer.

hornbeam-hedge-john-derian-provincetown-cape-cod-raised-beds-edible-garden-straw-mulch

Above: Designer John Derian’s garden in Provincetown, Massachusetts, has a privacy hedge of hornbeam on the perimeter of an edible garden. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

See more Hedges in our Photo Gallery.

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for hornbeam tree with our Hornbeam Tree: A Field Guide.

Interested in other types of trees? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various trees (specimen, deciduous, evergreen) with our Trees: A Field Guide.

Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various shrubs and hedges with our Shrubs: A Field Guide.

N.B.: This is an update of post originally published Nov. 12, 2012.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0