By Stephanie Pratt, InstantHedge
Photographs courtesy of InstantHedge
Picture this: It's late March. Shrubs and trees stand leafless under a gray sky. You turn your eyes and suddenly notice that the landscape is lit by a bright stretch of golden hedge. Upon closer inspection, you see that the gold hue comes from tiny flowers covering the branches of a Cornelian cherry.
Sometimes an evergreen wall of hedge just doesn't have the unique, exciting features needed for a creative landscape. Blooming hedges provide color, seasonal interest, and sometimes food for birds. Here are some top flowering hedge varieties:
Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas)
Cornelian cherry is one of the earliest-blooming hedges. Beginning in late March, it has an incredible display of yellow flowers before even showing a hint of foliage. Lush green leaves will follow, as well as attractive red fruit that is desirable for birds and even has culinary value. The fruit gives it its common name, although it is not related to true cherries at all and is actually a type of dogwood. Planting a whole hedge of Cornelian cherry will give you an abundant crop of tart fruit that can be made into delicious jams and jellies.
Cornelian cherry is deciduous and hardy to USDA zones 5-8.
Royal Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star')
A unique and stunning hedge choice, Royal Star is covered in double, white, fragrant blooms in spring, followed by lush green foliage through the summer and fall. The flower buds just before blooming are delightfully fuzzy and unique as well. The flowers are the main attraction for this variety, so if you are looking for the hedge with the most stunning floral display, this is the one. Often grown as a standalone specimen tree, it makes even more of an impact when planted en masse as a hedge.
Royal Star is deciduous and hardy in USDA zones 5-9.
Cherry Laurels (Prunus spp.)
Cherry laurels are extremely popular privacy hedges because they are fast growing and evergreen. They have the added benefit of having beautiful flowers in spring as well. English (Prunus laurocerasus), Schip (Prunus laurocerasus 'Schipkaensis'), and Portuguese (Prunus lusitanica) cherry laurels bloom in April-May. White flower spikes are followed by beautiful black fruits that are bird-friendly but toxic to humans and other animals. If desired, fruit set can easily be prevented by stripping the flowers from the plants in spring.
Cherry laurels are broadleaf evergreens and grow in USDA zones 6-9.
Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha)
Masses of white flowers adorn these firethorn hedges in May-June. They are followed by abundant, bright orange berries that persist from fall through late winter. The berries are bird-friendly, but the plants are a deterrent for deer and prowlers as the branches have many sharp thorns. Great for planting under windows or in areas where a hedge is desired for privacy or security. Flowers and berries are also wonderful in floral arrangements.
Teton Firethorn is evergreen and hardy in USDA zones 6-9.
Cornelian cherry InstantHedge unit.
All of these flowering hedges are available as InstantHedge units that can be planted and finished in as little as one day. Please request from your local garden center or landscaper or visit InstantHedge.com for help locating a distributor.
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