Growbag Blog

Hedge trimming anyone?


Now is a good time to be sharpening up your hedge-lines  but to be honest I’ve always considered hedgetrimming to be the garden equivalent of hoovering – just much more dangerous. It usually involves yards of heavy cable and a dodgy gadget known as a circuit breaker which is apparently there to save you getting electrocuted, So when E and C nominated me to take up Ryobi’s offer to trial their hedge trimmer in a topiary challenge I just assumed that they’d got together and decided that I was the most dispensable sister and, as usual, had set me up.

Have my sisters set me up again?

However this was a super-safe battery powered device and actually a joy to use so not only did their little plan backfire but  I had great fun becoming an Instagram star as people followed my progress in creating a topiary dinosaur (a triceratops actually, for the palaeontologists amongst you).

My topiary triceratops

With no cable to get in the way and a nifty button to change the angle of the blade I could get right down in the ditch and carve out the back of my dinosaur. And it was coping with some pretty tough stuff, thick brambles and reed stems. I felt like a pioneer carving a path through the interior.

Fighting through the undergrowth

So thank you. Ryobi,  for opening my eyes to the fact that hedge-trimming doesn’t have to be a boring chore any more.  My only problem now is which hedge to pick for my stegosaurus…..


So definitely the right sister got the hedge-trimmer for the topiary challenge – I would have gone for a tasteful cone whereas Caroline is probably reluctant to carve body-parts or anything else into her vital shelter-belt of rugged shrubs holding off gales from the North Sea.

Because here’s the thing: hedges are generally the workhorses of a garden: they can delineate a boundary, protect other brittler plants from wind damage, provide food and shelter for birds, define a view, enclose ‘garden-rooms’, frustrate the nosy neighbours…..

They are often the unlovely craggy items that no one notices or thinks about until they’re not there, like shopping trolleys or Antiques Road Trip or U-bends. So that could be why Laura’s chosen to abuse her thoroughly useful though dull hedge of Lonicera nitida by turning it into an amusing dinosaur, while the rest of us ought to be thanking our hedges, both deciduous and evergreen, by trimming them now to keep them dense, and thus more able to do their jobs (sifting the wind, etc.) as well as looking neat through the winter.

Look after your hedges and they’ll do a great job in the garden for you


Ah at last – hedge trimming, a garden task that quite appeals to non-gardeners, my chance to shine. Never mind the dividing, propagating and other fiddly garden activities that have a high attrition rate in my hands, a pair of sheers and I’m back in the game.

Elaine’s right, hedges are a Godsend here.  Griselinia and Escallonia are absolute weapons against the Polar blasts of the Far North. Clipping keeps both usefully dense, but unfortunately Griselinia has something in common with Laura’s dinosaur – it can easily grow to 20 feet and start roaming the Earth.

Charlotte Molesworthy’s gorgeous garden – now look at Laura’s triceratops again 🙁

On the plus side it gives you a chance to get the loppers out. I love them. Just as satisfying as the sheers, one tweak on that cord and down come the branches faster than Prince Andrew’s reputation, but you do have to know when to stop.

This was also the message from the marvellous Charlotte Molesworthy whose topiary workshop Laura and I attended a couple of years ago. If only Laura had been a better pupil – we might have got something like Charlotte’s lovely peacock instead of Laura’s version of ‘When the Flintstones turn bad.’

No such problems with Louise’s ‘plant of the moment ‘ which is elegance personified and only needs the occasional trim to keep it looking good.

NB If you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.

By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

6 replies on “Hedge trimming anyone?”

love the triceratops – well done Laura – keep at it. Sadly i dont have any hedges to trim but i do have a climbing hydrangea that’s going wild at present. Good to know the battery powered option is a good one as obviously much safer and more convenient than mains powered cousin.

Hello Chris, and welcome to our blog, we met at Durrance Manor last weekend didn’t we? You are very kind about my first attempt at topiary, (much more so than my two sisters) and yes I really do believe that cordless battery power is the way forward for motorised garden implements…best wishes Laura

Laura, my grandson would love your triceratops!
However, his Grannie is probably even more delighted to know how you found the battery powered hedge trimmer, something we have mulled over for a while. Although ours is petrol (no nasty and potentially dangerous cables) it is very heavy, too much for me.
Thank you for the perfect excuse to check battery ones out again though dinosaurs are definitely beyond my abilities…

Hello Janie, well I actually think that topiary dinosaurs were probably beyond my abilities but I have been using my cordless battery operated Ryobi hedgetrimmer again this afternoon to cloud prune my box hedges and I must say it does make life much easier. Many famous gardeners say they were inspired to take up horticulture due to happy memories of gardening with their grandparents so I hope your grandson will be the same. Best wishes Laura

It’s definitely a problem Margaret. You keep thinking – ‘I’ll just take that little straggly bit off’ but if you keep on doing it the whole lot goes eventually! Hilarious!

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