Choosing your native hedge species
Are you after a countryside hedge, great for wildlife? A native mixed hedge, based on 60% hawthorn and four other species, could be ideal. This type of hedge works well on field boundaries and in rural settings. We sell native mixed hedge by the metre (four plants).
But what species should I choose to go alongside the hawthorn, I hear you ask! The best choice can depend simply on characteristics you want like flowers, berries or thorns, or it might be that you need to pick species that will cope with a certain soil or drainage. See the table below for a quick comparison of characteristics.
Other things that might guide your choice:
In Somerset, for example, we often recommend a mix of field maple, dogwood, hazel and spindle to go with the hawthorn.
The yellow brimstone butterfly lays its eggs on alder buckthorn and purging buckthorn; the brown hairstreak on blackthorn. Spindle berries are among the most nutritious for birds (but poisonous to humans).
Rosehips and elderberries can be harvested to make nutritious syrups; crab apples for crab apple jelly. And of course, elderflowers for wine or cordial. Don't expect to get many hazel nuts before the squirrels, though!