When most people think of hedges they imagine evergreen privacy screens, property boundaries and flower borders – but what if you could find a hedge with all of these features that also offered tasty treats? Well, that’s where edible hedges come in. Edible hedges have all the same qualities as a traditional hedge, with the delicious addition of branches laden with fruit, berries and nuts.
Growing an edible hedge is not only a great way to add character to your garden, but you may also find that the many uses of this type of hedge will surprise you in the best way possible. Some edible hedging species have evergreen foliage, such as Rosemary, providing year-round colour, and other varieties such as Hawthorn are dense enough to use as a screen, providing privacy whilst also working as an intruder deterrent. Edible hedging offers diversity of colours, fragrances and textures, livening your outside space, for example, beautiful Crab Apple flowers, spiky Hawthorn branches and the aroma of Lavender, creating an explosion of energy in your garden.
Edible Hedging Recipes
The fruits and berries you can pick from an edible hedge will supply you with an assortment of flavours to experiment with in the kitchen. From Rose Petal jam sourced from your Dog Rose hedge, to Wild Cherry brandy, there are endless hedgerow recipes to keep you busy once the cropping period is over.
Summer BBQ Recipes
When to Harvest
While most edible hedges produce their fruits between late summer and early winter, there are some exceptions, so we’ve put together this harvesting calendar so you never have to miss out on collecting your favourite fruits, sloes and berries:
Edible Hedging for Wildlife
With such an array of edible hedging choices, you won't be the only one filling your boots. Birds, hedgehogs and other wildlife may also want to dine in your garden. So, if you’re willing to share your wealth of berries, you’ll most definitely be rewarded with a wonderful wildlife show throughout the year.
Known for their fragrant flowers and small, black elderberries, Elder Hedging offers nutrients for lots of wildlife. Small mammals such as dormice and bank voles enjoy eating both the berries and the flowers, whilst the flowers provide nectar for a variety of insects and the berries are a key food source for birds.
Wild Cherry Hedging
The ornamental native Wild Cherry Hedging Shrubs offer many benefits to your garden, providing luscious colours and a haven for wildlife. The beautiful white flowers in early spring are followed by red cherries, which, despite being bitter in taste, are popular among birds.
Sea Buckthorn Hedging
With their bright orange berries, Sea Buckthorn Hedges are an important winter food source for birds, and the narrow silvery leaves attract moths.
Crab Apple Hedging
Bursting with pink flushed flowers in late spring and sour fruits in autumn, Crab Apple Hedging suits many purposes in the garden. The plant works well as a hedgerow tree, allowing birds to nest in its branches. With its sweet scented flowers, many insects such as bumblebees are attracted to the hedging too, and over 90 insect species have been known to find a home in the native crab apple.
The density of Hawthorn Hedge Plants makes them ideal nesting spots for hedgehogs, other small mammals, the common toad, and many birds. By autumn the flowers turn into juicy red berries, which are much loved among birds such as blackbirds and thrushes. The diversity of the hedge adds a perfect touch to the garden, providing privacy, welcoming wildlife and giving you a basket full of berries for baking.