Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hedging My Bets

Work continues on the hedge. Weather permitting. It doesn't seem like it should be a big job, but it is considering that the hedge varies from six to eight feet tall and can be over five feet across in some places. Add to that that I have to use planks to bridge a ditch on the road side and you begin to get the picture.

The road side is done, despite the ditch!
The cylindrical edible bay laurel still waits its turn.

There are three distinct sections of hedge that wrap around three sides of our property. Each has it's own challenges for trimming, like the ditch I mentioned, or adjacent trees and fences. I just plug away, doing a little at a time, until suddenly it's done. Or not so suddenly, like this year.

Each time I want to trim, I have to haul out two fifty-meter spools of electric cord and string them along the ground where I'm going to work. The trimmer is an electric model. Good for the environment and all. I know, manual shears would be even better for the environment. Have another latte.

The yard side of the same section, with the edible bay laurel in back.

I should mention that the entire hedge is bay laurel, but it's not the kind you use in cooking. That cylindrical bush in the photos is actually the edible bay laurel, and we use its leaves all the time in the kitchen.

So, as I write this I still have much to do, but I've made significant progress by getting what I think are the most difficult parts done (along that ditch on the road side, for example). Now if the weather is good, I can get the rest completed, hopefully before Halloween.


  1. Walt – isn't your hedge actually Common Laurel? Bay Laurel is Bay Laurel and always edible, surely? Common Laurel is very common in France as a giganitic shrub on its own, or as hedging. Common Laurel is also poisonous – the new growth contains quite a bit of cyanide and is what 19th century entomologists used to kill their specimens (the crushed young leaves give off a poisonous gas).

  2. how often do u have to do the massive trimming?

  3. Wow that is one big job!! we use a petrol cutter, well when I say "we" I mean my husband..ha ha..no hauling cable etc, and watching it, in case it gets caught.

  4. Blogging is always a learning experience (especially with Susan around!). There are three types of "laurel" here in the Loire Valley. First, there's what's called laurier sauce or, I'm learning, bay laurel. That's true laurel. Then there's laurier cerise — our hedge, for example. That's not laurel at all, scientifically. And then there's laurier rose, which in America we calle oleander. It is toxic. We knew that. I don't know if our laurel hedge is also toxic.

  5. susan, right! I was a bit lazy in my description, based on the the french words. Ken explains better in his comment.

    melinda, I have to trim once a year, in the fall.

    anne, I haven't had any real trouble with the cord, yet...

  6. Laurier cerise will be Common Laurel, as it is also called Cherry Laurel. I tend to distinguish between the large bushes, referring to them as Common Laurel, and the ground cover cultivar beloved of supermarket carparks are Cherry Laurel to me. We have a fourth type of Laurel in our garden in London – Portugal Laurel.

  7. PS Forgot to say – oleander is not a true laurel either. I didn't realise its French name was laurier rose.


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