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Planting a new native hedge with Murraya

Adam_W
Valued Contributor
Adam_W
Adam_W
Valued Contributor

Hedges provide beautiful features and privacy, but taking time to understand their environment gives your new plants a better chance of thriving for years to come.

 

 

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The project

 

May 2018 update

 

It'll be a work in progress as I add lower plantings, but for now I've planted a Murraya hedge about 30m long and 1m out from the boundary fence, and a row of Magnolia 'Little Gems'.

 

A lot of soil prep involved. We had an odd sort of soil here. Quite deep top-soil in most spots, at least 400mm. It looks like a fine soil but it actually has a very high silt and clay component so it goes very gluey if you work it at the wrong time. It's also biologically deficient so I had to turn it all over with a rotary hoe and then rotary hoe through four cubic metres of chook poo. Neighbours loved the smell.


Big debate we’re having now is about the edge along the drive. I want to leave turf about 1.2m wide for anyone that may back off the drive (our drive is about 50m long) as I reckon I’d rather them back onto grass than a garden bed that they may sink into, but some have other thoughts.


We will eventually build loads more garden areas here, we’ve only been in this place under two years, and as we’ve got renovations planned, building gardens is unwise.

 

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Murraya is in the plant Family Rutaceae which is the same group as citrus trees. The beauty of Murraya Paniculata as a hedge is that you can trim it to a hedge of virtually any height. We like our neighbours and still want to be able to say 'Hi!' over the fence, so I'm thinking a 1.2m height is best at this stage. Personally, it's one of my favourite hedges as it grows well from full-sun through to part-shade, has beautiful perfumed white flowers and can flower three, four or more times a year. Plus, Murraya is an Aussie native, so this can be handy if you have a local Council that insists on X-number of natives in a landscape planting.


Yes, I love Magnolias, especially the evergreen ones like Little Gem but I like them planted en masse which I've never had enough room to do until now. We have loads of space, our block is around 1.3 acres of mostly lawn, so gardens will be a work in progress for years to come.

 

March 2020 update

 

Well, this has been an interesting and expensive exercise and proves the point of knowing your conditions. We hadn't experienced a long, wet period in our time here before I planted this hedge and row of Magnolias. It ended up that the area they are in has a very high water table and becomes almost boggy when it's wet for extended periods. May well have been a spot where there was a natural stream before development.


Most of the Magnolias and a few of the Murrayas were almost floating out of the ground. When I pulled them out to try and save them, their planting holes were filled to the top with water. This issue is then amplified by the area being extremely dry and hot during dry periods. Absolute extremes.


As a consequence, I lost all but one of the Magnolias and a few of the Murrayas. I haven't replanted the Magnolias but what I did for the Murrayas I lost was to add a raised planting mound and then put new plants back in. They have now established quite well and will catch up with the first round of planting soon enough.


Now it turns out that I will likely be lifting the whole hedge-row as our neighbours have plans to build a very unsightly wall and carport that will need taller screening, so I'm planning on adding a row of clumping bamboo and then I'll replant the Murrayas in front of that.


Photo below of how it's looking now. Needs a haircut but the larger Murrayas are in flower so I'll wait until they've finished (I love the perfume of them). The area is messy and desperately in need of mulching but I can't do much at the moment. Been so busy with work and renovations and then we've had a very wet summer and autumn so I try to avoid walking around on garden beds too much when they're wet.

 

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How to give your garden a makeover

 

Whether a simple refresh or a major rebuild, improving your garden means that you’ll be able to enjoy the results for years to come.

 

Horticulturist and Workshop member Adam Woodhams has written fantastic guides for giving your garden a makeover and planning what you want to do with the space long term.

 

Find more inspiration for your backyard project in our Top 10 most popular garden makeovers.

 

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