Hazel or Green Beech
A UK native hedging species, Corylus avellana, Hazel is suited to cottage garden and informal hedging as it looks best when left to develop a natural form. The green foliage is rounded and slightly hairy with a pointed tip, turning lovely shades of orange and yellow in the autumn before falling. Distinctive pale yellow fluffy catkins appear from January to March, these are accompanied by less noticeable flowers that, in turn, produce edible nuts which ripen September/October. The nuts are particularly popular with squirrels. Will grow well in almost any soil type and will tolerate exposed sites, making them a good choice to use as a windbreak or screen. A very low maintenance hedging option.
It is easy to see why Fagus Sylvatica, Green Beech, is one of the most popular varieties of hedging shrub in the UK with its wonderfully bright, fluttery foliage in spring that fades slightly leading into summer, before showcasing stunning shades of coppery orange and brown in the autumn. Strictly speaking, our native Beech is deciduous, but can retain its coppery leaves in their dry state throughout the winter if trimmed annually in August, until pushed off by the new bright green growth in spring. This makes it a great alternative to an evergreen hedge. An excellent formal hedge, Green Beech can also be grown as a component of a native mixed hedge, providing much-needed shelter to wildlife throughout the winter when fully deciduous varieties have completely shed their leaves. Likes sun or partial shade and does well on almost any well-drained soil, but is not suitable for heavy clay or wet sites. Though it is suitable for windy sites and is suitable as a dense windbreak hedge, it may not keep all of its winter leaves in very exposed (particularly coastal) positions.