Planting for an entrance

The entrance gate makes the first statement about the property and gives a hint of what lies beyond. What should it say about you? Organised? Conventional? Imaginative?

On one side is a new hedge which needs strong pruning to encourage the plants to bush and fill in from the base. Hedges fit into the countryside and are neat, only requiring strong pruning twice a year. This small hedge has bare, sloping ground at its base which needs to be ‘anchored’ with plants. Stachys has a vicious root system, is easily propagated, and can probably be picked up cheaply at church fetes or markets, or perhaps a neighbour is thinning out their stock. It is everygreen and hugs the ground, but does need ‘tidying’. Euphorbia Amygdaloides is similarly useful; it grows in dry shade, is easily propagated, spreads, and could also be planted around a nearby chestnut tree, although it would need watering to get established. Euphorbias are everygreen and only need deadheading. Alchemilla Mollis  should be softening the edges in a country garden but this is perhaps more appropriate inside the garden rather at an entrance, but a few Corydalis Lutea could be tucked in with the euphorbias and will self-seed happily – just be sure you like corydalis before introducing it into your garden!

On the other side a post and rail fence curves towards the above chestnut tree. Continuing the hedging is one possibility and would give uniformity…. Leaving the fence bare is another….

On the other hand this is an opportunity to ‘garden’. Grasses such as Cortaderia (Pampas Grass) or Miscanthus are tough and the maintenance is minimal – cutting down in early spring. And the grasses could combine with Buddleias and Euphorbias under the chestnut tree. Buddleias are much-maligned, perhaps because they are so easy to grow! Or maybe you could just plant low-growing Valerian.

Pink Valerian (
Pink Valerian (

Or what about a rose hedge? Rosa Rugosa is both white and magenta and produces hips in the autumn. Like all hedges it needs to be pruned and will need watering to establish, but after that it is low maintenance and tough.

I would consider these plants as a starter.

You may be interested in
Before and After views of countryside projects – HegartyWebber Partnership
The National Buddleia Collection – and Lavenders
Stachys (RHS), (Beth Chatto)
Euphorbia (Beth Chatto)
Pampas Grass (Beth Chatto)
Wildflower plug plants (Naturescape), (Plantwild)


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