The Joy of Hedges

Okay, he's a little manic. He's even taken a selfie of himself opening the box. Yes, he's gone hedge mad. That look when Andrew comes through the door from the Hopwood Hall Market Garden and sees the parcel waiting for him - the one that wasn't delivered the day before but a note put through the door to say they'd deliver it again followed by an extensive gibber from a forty something male about the-fact-we-live-in-a-rural-area-and-why-they-bloody-couldn't-leave-it-beside-the-porch-christ-what-is-this-world-coming-to rant. He wants his hedges. To be precise he wants the hedges for the Paradise Garden he's designing. It's a mix of hornbeam and rosarie de l'hay, a rugosa rose he says is to die for. It creates a dense shrub and makes him smile like this.

planting a hedge, gardening, life on pig row

He doesn't even say hello to his in-laws, doesn't even wish his father-in-law happy birthday - it is today but he forgets, he sees only the parcel - there are quick words as he whips by: has it come? Yes, Andrew, it's in the kitchen. He's gone, with yells from the back door about heeling it all in. It has to be said that bare rooted plants are the greatest anti-climax to any parcel opening. In terms of pass the parcel they would be the most depressing win a five year could achieve. However, replace the five year olds with gardeners and there would be shrieks, tears and a few black eyes as they fight over who gets them.

gardening, life on pig row

So, what is heeling in? This is where Andrew wiggles his feet in the air and yells, heel, heel, heel! Tell us, you wally. Heeling in is the process of taking bare rooted plants that you don't have time to plant there and then, and putting them somewhere safe. For those of you who don't know what bare rooted is, they are bare rooted, no soil and that means they are cheaper. Andrew has around fifty hornbeam plants here all for less that £20 (we could tell you what they are in dollars and euros here but really, we can't, Brexit has made a mockery of the exchange rate but at least we don't have that President - politics and economics over, let's get on with roots that look like a bad comb over). So, how does one heel in?

gardening, life on pig row

Which in Andrew's case means digging a hold in the garden and putting the hornbeam and rose into these holes.

gardening, life on pig row

He puts them in at a forty-five degree angle, covers them in earth and uses his heel - remember that most gardening terms are literal - to gently push down the earth around the bare rooted plants. He then covers them in the straw they came in. This apparently keeps them warm and wards off ground frost. Which explains corn dollies, they ward everyone off. Scary stuff.

life on pig row, gardening

He then pours a bucket of water over them. Watering them in. Andrew puts all the cardboard in the compost. Trots back into the kitchen and wishes his father-in-law a happy birthday whilst humming a delighted tune as he decides to go upstairs to wash and change. It is all, very, very stressful to watch.

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