Difference between revisions of "Hedge"
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Throughout the history of American gardens, hedges were used for a variety of practical and ornamental purposes. The feature created divisions within the garden, protected tender plants from cross-winds, formed barriers against both animal and human intruders, screened unsightly views, outlined ornamental beds and walks [Fig. 1], and brought flowering variety to the garden. According to A. J. Downing (1838), hedges were ideal for these purposes because their architectural form functioned much like a fence or wall, while their organic material allowed them to harmonize with planting arrangements and to articulate other forms of architecture to the landscape. As Samuel Deane noted in 1790, live hedges were preferable to fences and “dead hedges” (wattle fences using woven plant material) because the living plants created a “perpetual fence” whose posts never decayed and stakes never failed. Their versatility also made them adaptable to any scale, whether enclosing a field, screening a privy, or edging a bed (see Fence).
Hedges were found throughout America, but the plant materials employed in them varied, depending on the purpose of the hedge and the climate of its particular region. In 1828, William Prince praised hedges, particularly of buckthorn and maclura, as windbreaks affording protection in areas subject to severe winds. Fast-growing evergreens were recommended for hedges needed to screen an area, although they were not advised for situations calling for trimmed effect or where a long shadow was undesirable. In these cases, the arborvitae, which grows quickly and densely, was the most common choice. At times, the screening effect does not appear to have been intentional; in 1839, for example, C. M. Hovey described the fish pond of the Elias Hasket Derby House in Salem, Mass., as being entirely surrounded by an eight-foot high impenetrable hedge. Where such an effect was desired, various types of thorn were effective as impenetrable barriers. Downing noted that “there are few creatures, however bold, who care to ‘come to the scratch’ twice with such a foe.”  Cacti were similarly used at the California missions to create barriers around fields. Plants for ornamental hedges, however, were selected for their foliage, blossoms, and berries. For instance, a wild rose hedge was planted at Mount Vernon, while the deep green foliage of the privet was admired at Oatlands, D. P. Manice’s residence in Hempstead, N.Y. Because of their combination of flowering beauty and edible produce, fruit trees, such as apple, peach, and orange, were sometimes planted as espalier hedges (see Espalier). Thomas Jefferson capitalized on the many uses of hedges: he designed thorn hedges to enclose his orchard and garden area [Fig. 2], planned hedgethorn and privet or cedar to line his slopes, and, in a proposal of 1771, used a hedge to screen his icehouse from view [Fig. 3]. 
Climate was also a factor in plant choice for hedges. In warmer regions ornamental hedges were composed of orange, yucca, Cherokee rose, and gardenia, while cedar, spruce, and juniper were used in colder areas such as New England. Prince recommended maclura or osage orange for Philadelphia and areas to the south. Edward James Hooper, in The Practical Farmer (1842), maintained that buckthorn was suited to New England’s climate while European hawthorn did better in the west, although other descriptions suggest that the use of thorn varieties was not regionally specific.
Early evidence of hedges in the American landscape may be found in books of instruction on the delineation or division of arable fields, a practice taken directly from European agricultural tradition. Hedges created by close planting and interweaving of shrubs to create a dense barrier were categorized in many horticultural and agricultural treatises as a type of fence, rather than identified with other planting arrangements such as thicket, grove, and group. The discourse about the advantages of hedges over fences was particularly rich in the American agricultural literature of the early nineteenth century. Proponents of the new “scientific agriculture,” such as John Adams and Ezekiel Hersey Derby, reported their experiments with different plant varieties and techniques for forming hedges [Fig. 4]. 
The aesthetic treatment of garden hedges was discussed and debated throughout much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Authors and gardeners variously praised and dismissed both trimmed and untrimmed hedges, depending upon the prevailing taste and the particular situation of the hedge. Ezra Stiles admired the spruce hedges at Springettsbury, near Philadelphia, which were cut into beautiful figures in 1754, and in 1762 Hannah Callender described a hedge labyrinth at Belmont, Judge William Peters’s estate near Philadelphia. In contrast, Isaac Ware, writing in 1756, praised the “natural hedge . . . mimicking savage nature.” In 1832, both H.A.S. Dearborn and Thomas Bridgeman commended trimmed and trained hedges while other writers, such as Downing and Jane Loudon, allowed the merits of both formal and naturalistic styles. In 1845 Loudon praised evergreen hedges “neatly cut, so as to form living walls,” while in the flower garden she proposed a less “stiff and formal” appearance that would “harmonize . . . with the flowers.” In the 1849 edition of his treatise, Downing noted that trimmed hedges were “elegant substitutes for stone or wooden fences,” while irregular or picturesque hedges were handsome additions to a landscape of the “natural style.”
-- Elizabeth Kryer-Reid
- Virginia General Assembly, 23 October 1705, describing a legislative ruling in Virginia (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
- “(I) Be it enacted . . . that if any horses, mares, cattle, hogs, sheep, or goats, shall break into any grounds, being inclosed with a strong and sound fence . . . or with an hedge two foot high, upon a ditch of three foot deep, and three foot broad, or instead of such hedge, a rail fence of two foot and half high, the hedge or fence being so close that none of the creatures aforesaid can creep through, (which shall be accounted a lawful fence,) the owner . . . shall for the first trespass by any of them committed, make reparation to the party injured.”
- “They also make strong hedges of Peach plantsin their gardens.”
- Anonymous, 17 August 1747, describing property for sale in Somerset County, N.J. (New York Gazette)
- “TO BE SOLD, A pleasant Country Seat, fitting for a Gentleman or Store-keeper; . . . a very good Kitchen Garden, at the Rear of which is a Grass-plat, with a Prim Hedge round and pale’d, situate on level Up Land.”
- “The fences and pales are generally made here of wooden planks and posts. But a few good economists, having already thought of sparing the woods for future times, have begun to plant quick hedges round their fields; and for this purpose they take the above-mentioned privet, which they plant in a little bank that is thrown up for it.”
- Anonymous, 22 May 1749, describing the property of Alexander Garden, Charleston, S.C. (South Carolina Gazette)
- “With in a few weeks will be raffled for, A LOT . . . belonging to Alexander Gordon, Esq. . . . Together with a garden, genteelly laid out in walks and alleys, with flower-knots, &c. laid round with bricks, having also several kinds of fruit trees now bearing, and many orange trees now growing like-wise, cassini and other hedges.”
- “besides the beautiful walk, ornamented with evergreens, we saw . . . Spruce hedges cut into beautiful figures, &c., all forming the most agreeable variety, & even regular confusion & disorder.”
- Callender, Hannah, 1762, describing Belmont, estate of Judge William Peters, near Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Vaux 1888: 455) 
- “On the right you enter a labyrinth of hedge of low cedar and spruce.”
- Washington, George, 1785, describing Mount Vernon, plantation of George Washington, Fairfax County, Va. (Jackson and Twohig, eds., 1978: 4:102, 115) 
- “[14 March] Planted the 9 young peach Trees which I brought from Mr. Cockburns in the No. Garden—viz . . . 2 in the border of the Walk leading from the Espalier hedge towards the other cross walk. . . .
- “[8 April] The ground being too wet ...I was unable to touch that which I had been preparing for grass; and therefore began to hoe that wch. lyes between the New circular ditches, & the Wild rose hedges.”
- Brissot de Warville, J. P., 6 September 1788, describing the enclosure of pastures in America (1792: 253) 
- “Mr. L. thinks it best to replace them [wooden rail fences] by ditches six feet deep, of which he throws the earth upon his meadows, and borders the sides with hedges; and thus renders the passage impracticable to the cattle. This is an agricultural operation, which cannot be too much recommended to the Americans.”
- Strickland, William, 9 October 1794, describing the country from Fishkill, N.Y., to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (1971: 99–100) 
- “The country in general is divided into fields . . . it wants only the ornament of live fences to be one of the most picturesque that can be seen, and those even have been attempted though they have unfortunately failed. Near Fishkyl the fields were formerly divided by Privet Hedges a shrub imported from Europe by the Dutch, which answerd the purpose, and throve well for many years, and some of them are still to be seen; but an insect attacked them some years since by which they were destroyed, and they never have been replaced, or any substitute adopted or tried; though no doubt shrubs better calculated for making durable strong fences might be found among the natives of this country.”
- “An eye accustomed to the beautiful hedges of England, would probably regard these inclosures [stone walls] with little pleasure. But emotions of this nature depend much on comparison. There are no hedges in New-England: those which formerly existed, having perished by some unknown misfortune. Few persons therefore, who see these walls, will be able to compare them with hedges.”
- Jefferson, Thomas, c. 1804, describing Monticello, plantation of Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville, Va. (Massachusetts Historical Society, Coolidge Collection)
- “make the upper slope thus at a plant a hedge of hedgethorn & at b one of privet, or Gleditria, or cedar to be trimmed down to 3 ft. high, the whole appearance this taking a border of 8 ft. at the foot of the terras.” [Fig. 5]
- Drayton, Charles, 2 November 1806, describing the Woodlands, seat of William Hamilton, near Philadelphia, Pa. (Drayton Hall, Charles Drayton Diaries, 1784–1820, typescript)
- “The Fences separating the Park-lawn from the garden on one hand, & the office yard on the other, are 4 ft 6 high. The former are made with posts & lathes—the latter with posts, rails & boards. They are concealed with evergreens hedge—of juniper I think. . . .
- “The Stables & sheds, form the 3rd side of this three sided yard—The stables are seen from the front door of the house, over the hedge that screens the Yard.”
- Jefferson, Thomas, 1 March 1808, in a letter to William Hamilton, describing plans for Monticello, plantation of Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville, Va. (1944: 365) 
- “you should know this plant [haw], which is peculiar at least to America & is a real treasure. as a thorn for hedges nothing has ever been seen comparable to it certainly no thorn in England which I have ever seen makes a hedge any more to be compared to this than a log hut to a wall of freestone. if you will plant these 6. I. apart you will be a judge of their superiority soon.”
- Peale, Charles Willson, 22 July 1810, in a letter to his son, Rembrandt Peale, describing a farm in Pennsylvania (quoted in Rudnytzky 1986: 11) 
- “I visited Job Roberts the day before yesterday, his farm is a model of excellence in the Culture. . . . He is growing several hedges which in less than 7 yrs. will be complete fences against all sorts of Cattle. The management of which is a good lesson, which I hope to make usefull to this place.”
- Foster, Sir Augustus John, 1812, describing Custis-Lee Mansion (Arlington House), Arlington, Va. (quoted in Lounsbury 1994: 177) 
- “the fences were of hurdles to keep out pigs. The American thorn will not grow close enough and the cedar hedge though pretty is not strong enough for the purpose.”
- “Between the tavern and Charleston, the road is lined with the hedges and fences belonging to several handsome plantations: the houses are, however, seldom seen, being built a considerable distance back.”
- “A contrary practice is adopted in the northern and middle states, where a succession of farms, meadows, gardens, and habitations, continually meet the eye of the traveller; and if hedges were substituted for rail fences, those States would very much resemble some of the English counties.”
- Hulme, Thomas, 28 June 1818, describing the settlement of Morris Birkbeck, New Harmony, Ind. (quoted in Cobbett 1819b: 475) 
- “910. I very much admire Mr. Birkbeck’s mode of fencing. . . . The banks [of the ditches] were growing beautifully, and looked altogether very neat as well as formidable; though a live hedge (which he intends to have) instead of dead poles and rails, upon top, would make the fence far more effectual as well as handsomer.”
- Latrobe, Benjamin Henry, 20 February 1819, describing the Montgomery House, New Orleans, La. (1951: 43) 
- “Close to the river, & separated only by the levee & road, is the old fashioned, but otherwise handsome, garden & house of Mr. Montgomery. The garden, which I think covers not less than 4 acres, is laid out in square walks & flower beds in the old French style. It is entirely enclosed by a thick hedge of orange trees, which have been suffered to run up to 15 or 16 feet high on the flanks & rear, but which are shorn down to the highth [sic] of 4 or 5 feet along the road.”
- Forman, Martha Ogle, 21 April 1823, describing Rose Hill, home of Martha Ogle Forman, Baltimore County, Md. (1976: 158) 
- “The hedger, Mr. Green, arrived here this evening, he laid a part of the Apple hedge and all the thorn hedge.”
- Waln, Robert, Jr., 1825, describing the Friends Asylum for the Insane, near Frankford, Pa. (pp. 231–32) 
- “The flower garden, extending from the vestibule to a dark green hedge of cedar, which separates it from the kitchen garden, offers a rich repast to the eye. . . .
- “About twenty acres of the farm are in a state of cultivation; the rest is woodland. It is separated from the road which passes in front of it, by a flourishing thorn-hedge.”
- Derby, Ezekiel Hersey, 1828, in a letter to Thomas Green Fessenden, describing his use of the buckthorn in constructing hedges (quoted in Fessenden 1828: 57) 
- “After trying several kinds of trees, for the purpose of making a hedge, without much success, I was induced to try this [buckthorn], which has afforded a most beautiful fence, so much so as to attract the attention of every person who has seen it. It divides my garden, is about three hundred feet in length, the plants set nearly a foot apart, is five feet high, and two feet wide at top, which is cut nearly level. It shoots early in the spring, makes a handsome appearance, and continues its verdure till very late in the fall. It has not so much spine as either the English or American hawthorn, but I think sufficient to protect it from cattle. . . . You will observe that Miller speaks of it as not so proper for hedges as the hawthorn or crab, which may be the case in England, but I cannot agree with him as it respects America.”
- “We soon left our comfortless abode [the inn] for as neat and trig a little villa as ever was seen in or out of the Tropics. This mansion, which in India would be called a Bungalow, was surrounded by white railings, within which lay an ornamental garden, intersected by gravel walks, almost too thickly shaded by orange hedges, all in flower.”
- Hall, Capt. Basil, 1828, describing a plantation he visited during his trip from Charleston, S.C., to Savannah, Ga. (quoted in Jones 1957: 98) 
- “From the top of the bank, on which the house stood, we could see over a hedge into the rice fields which lay beyond, and stretched over the plain for several miles, their boundary line being the black edge of the untouched forest.”
- Bell, Caroline, 6 April 1829, describing Iberville Plantation, La. (Historic New Orleans Collection, Butler Family Papers, folder 459, MSS 102)
- “I have set out a great deal of beautiful shrubbery & Flowers, tomorrow shall plant, all my orange seed for hedges & plant all my Myrtle and sweet orange Trees.”
- Anonymous, 17 April 1829, “Neglected Grave Yards” (New England Farmer 7: 307)
- “I wish to call your attention to the subject of repairing, clearing, and ornamenting the burial grounds of New England. These enclosures are commonly neglected by the sexton, and present to the curious traveller, an ugly collection of slate slabs, of weeds, and rank or dried grass. A small effort in each sexton or clergyman, would suffice to awaken attention, to bring to the recollection of some, and to the fancy of all, a scene which every village should present, a grove sacred to the dead and to their recollection, to calm religious conversation, and to melancholy musing—inclosed with shrubbery, and evergreen, and dignified by the lofty maple, and elm, and oak, and guarded by a living hedge of hawthorn.
- “Every sexton should procure some oak, elm, and locust seed, and make it a part of his vocation to scatter it for chance growth.”
- Committee of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 1830, describing Sweet Briar, seat of Samuel Breck, vicinity of Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Boyd 1929: 425) 
- “Mr. Breck has taken considerable pains with a hedge of white hawthorn (Crataegus), which he planted in 1810, and caused to be plashed, stalked, and dressed last Spring by two Englishmen, who understood the business well. Yet he apprehends the whole of the plants will gradually decay, and oblige him to substitute a post and rail fence. Almost every attempt to cultivate a live fence in the neighborhood of Philadelphia seems to have failed. The foliage disappears in August, and the plant itself is short lived in our climate.”
- Committee of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 1830, describing a country residence near Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Boyd 1929: 438–39) 
- “On viewing this seat, our attention was immediately drawn to the handsome hedges of Hornbeam and Pinus Canadensis. We were delighted with the latter; never having seen it before. Its fine green foliage contrasts very sweetly with the delicate appearance of the tender shoots. These hedges are trimmed periodically and kept in excellent order.”
- Dearborn, H.A.S., 1832, describing Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Mass. (quoted in Harris 1832: 82–83) 
- “Hedges, used as inclosures, will disappoint expectation, and require to be entirely eradicated after a few years, if even for a short time they should have a pleasing effect, when young, healthy, vigorous, and well managed. They are only proper for extensive grounds, farms, or large gardens, embracing some ten or twenty acres, or for long lines of circumvallation, which are to be seen at a distance, in which the imperfections, occasioned by insects and the ravages of time, are lost in the perspective, but should never be employed to surround a mere parterre, a buisson of roses, or a bed of hyacinths. To look even beautiful, hedges, of all kinds, require constant attention; they must be kept clear of weeds, and be pruned and clipped several times in the course of the season of vegetation, and this, too, by a skilful hand.”
- Hovey, C. M., June 1835, “Notices of some of the Gardens and Nurseries in the neighborhood of New York and Philadelphia,” describing D. and C. Landreth’s Nursery on Federal Street, Philadelphia, Pa. (American Gardeners’ Magazine 1: 201)
- “The object of a hedge is generally to keep from the grounds cattle and other animals; though in some instances, they are only set to obscure one part of the garden from the other, or to hide some disagreeable object from the eye.”
- “The country is flat and sandy, and the only objects are planters’ mansions, surrounded with evergreen woods, the gardens exhibiting the tropical yucca, and fenced with hedges of the Cherokee rose.”
- Derby, Ezekiel Hersey, 1 January 1836, “Cultivation and Management of the Buckthorn (Rhamnus Catharticus) for Live Hedges” (Horticultural Register 2: 28)
- “The rapid increase of our population, and the consequent vast consumption of timber for other and more valuable purposes, by increasing the relative cost of the old fashioned wooden fences, must eventually render the introduction of hedges here, advantageous, if not absolutely essential, from motives of utility and economy; while the lover of rural scenery will hail with pleasure the picturesque charm of their verdant beauty.
- “It is now about thirtytwo years, since I first attempted the formation of a live hedge as a boundary for my own pleasure-grounds.”
- Forman, Martha Ogle, 30 April 1838, describing Rose Hill, home of Martha Ogle Forman, Baltimore County, Md. (1976: 396) 
- “The General planting a hedge of Osage apple from the poplar tree gate to the woods gate between the horse chestnuts row.”
- Hovey, C. M., November 1839, “Notices of Gardens and Horticulture, in Salem, Mass,” describing Elias Hasket Derby House, Salem, Mass. (Magazine of Horticulture 5: 410–11)
- “The extent of the garden and pleasure ground is several acres. The garden lies to the south of the mansion, and is, we should judge, nearly a square. It is laid out with straight walks, running at right angles, with flower borders on each side of the alleys, and the squares occupied by fruit trees; the green-house and grapery stand in the centre of the garden, and are screened on the back by a hedge.
- “In the centre of the garden is a small oval pond, containing gold fish: this pond is hedged round with the buckthorn, which has now been planted over thirty years! It is not over eight feet high, and is thickly set with branches and foliage from the top to bottom, and perfectly impenetrable.”
- Kemble, Fanny, 24–28 March 1839, in a letter to Elizabeth Dwight Sedgwick, describing an estate on St. Simon’s Island, Ga. ( 1984: 284–85) 
- “Hamilton struck me very much—I mean the whole appearance of the place; the situation of the house, the noble water prospect it commanded, the magnificent old oaks near it, a luxuriant vine trellis, and a splendid hedge of Yucca gloriosa, were all objects of great delight to me.”
- Hovey, C. M., September 1840, “Notes on Gardens and Gardening, in New Bedford, Mass,” describing the estate of James Arnold, New Bedford, Mass. (Magazine of Horticulture 6: 363)
- “Passing into a straight walk which leads from the conservatory, by the flower garden, (which is screaned by a hedge from the lawn front,).”
- Hovey, C. M., November 1841, “Select Villa Residences,” describing Highland Place, estate of A. J. Downing, Newburgh, N.Y. (Magazine of Horticulture 7: 406)
- “18. Flower garden, in front of the greenhouse. . . . Under the arbor vitae hedge, which is here planted against the boundary line, the greenhouse plants are principally placed during summer.
- “19. Hedge or screen of arbor vitae, shutting out the back shed, compost ground, &c. The arbor vitae is well adapted for this purpose, growing rapidly, and forming a perfect screen in three or four years.” [Fig. 6]
- Longfellow, Samuel, 3 September 1845, in a letter to Annie Pierce, describing Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House, Cambridge, Mass. (quoted in Evans 1993: 40) 
- “A buckthorn hedge has been made between us & Mr. Hastings, and Mr. Worcester not satisfied with the rustic open fence which separates between us demands a hedge there also which will cover up entirely the glimpse that I get from my western window and which I do not at all like to loose [sic].”
- Hovey, C. M., August 1846, “Notes of a Visit to several Gardens in the Vicinity of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York,” describing D. and C. Landreth’s Nursery on Federal Street, Philadelphia, Pa. (Magazine of Horticulture 12: 284)
- “Referring to our account above mentioned, we particularly alluded to the fine hedges of the arbor vitae which existed here, and recommended this fine tree as peculiarly well adapted for screens or hedges to shut out one part of the garden from another, or hide disagreeable objects. Twelve years’ experience has convinced us of the correctness of our remarks, and we may still urge them upon the attention of our readers. The arbor vitae is unquestionably one of the finest of evergreen trees, and far superior to any other for forming hedges or screens.”
- Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1847, excerpt from “Walden” (Clarke, ed., 1993: 2:47) 
- “Self-sown my stately garden grows;
- The winds and wind-blown seed,
- Cold April rain and colder snows
- My hedges plant and feed.”
- “Many of the country-houses in the neighborhood are elegant, and some of the gardens belonging to them laid out in the English, others in the French style. In the latter are seen terraces, with statues and cut evergreens, straight walks with borders of flowers, terminated by views into the wild forest, the charms of both being heightened by contrast. Some of the hedges are made of that beautiful North American plant, the Gardenia, miscalled in England the Cape jessamine, others of the Cherokee rose, with its bright and shining leaves.”
- “To forme it [the garden] therfore with walks, crosse the middle both waies, and round about it also with hedges, with squares, knots and trayles, or any other worke within the foure square parts, is according as every mans conceit alloweth of it, and they will be at the charge.”
- Smith, John, 1629, Advertisement for the Unexperienced Planters (quoted in Miller and Johnson 1963: 2:399) 
- “you may shape your Orchards, Vineyards, Pastures, Gardens, Walkes, Parkes, and Corne fields out of the whole peece as you please into such plots . . . seeing you may have so many great and small growing trees for your maine posts, to fix hedges, palisados, houses, rales, or what you will.”
- Bradley, Richard, 1719–20, New Improvements of Planting and Gardening (1719: 1.2:7, 17; 1720: 2.3:27–28) 
- “[vol. 1] They [ever-greens] are so ornamental where they are rightly managed, that I think no Garden can be compleat without ’em; they make beautiful and useful Hedges....
- “It [the Yew-Tree] is of great use for Hedges, and make most agreeable Divisions in Gardens; it is customary to fence in the Quarters of Wilderness Works with these Plants, where they have a very good Effect. . . .
- “[vol. 2] In these several Quarters plant your Trees at about sixteen Foot distance, if you design a close Orchard, or near thirty Foot asunder if the Ground is design’d for Beans, Peas, or such like Under-crops. . . . The Ground thus planted may be fenced about with Hedges of Philbuds and Berberries, to make it still the more compleat and delightful.”
- “General DIRECTIONS, &c....
- “XIX. . . .
- “And to add to the Pleasure of these delightful Meanders, I advise that the Hedge-Rows of the Walks be intermix’d with Cherries, Plumbs [sic], Apples, Pears, Bruxel Apricots, Figs, Gooseberries, Currants, Rasberrries [sic], &c. and the Borders planted with Strawberries, Violets, &c.
- “The most beautiful Forest-Trees for Hedges, are the English Elm, the Dutch Elm, the Lime-Tree, and Hornbeam: And altho’ I have advis’d the Mixing of these Hedges of Forest-Trees with the aforesaid Fruits, yet you must not forget a Place for those pleasant and delightful Flowering-Shrubs, the White Jessemine, Honey-Suckle, and Sweet-Brier. . . .
- “XXI. Such Walks as must terminate within the Garden, are best finish’d with Mounts, Aviaries, Grotto’s, Cascades, Rocks, Ruins, Niches, or
- Amphitheatres of Ever-Greens, variously mix’d, with circular Hedges ascending behind one another, which renders a very graceful Appearance.”
- “ESPALIER. . . .
- “As for espalier hedges, or hedge rows for defence of tender greens, and plants, from destructive winds in the summer season; if there be occasion to use them the first or second year after they are planted, a substantial frame of wood must be made, seven or eight foot high, with posts and rails. And to this espalier frame, must the side boughs of the young trees be tied, to cause the espalier to thicken the sooner. . . .
- “HEDGE*, in agriculture, &c. a fence, inclosing a field, garden, or the like; made of branches of trees interwoven. See FENCE.
- “* The word is formed of the German hag, or haeg, or the Anglo Saxon hegge, or hege; which signifies simply inclosure, circumference.
- “Quick-set HEDGE, is that made of quick or live trees, which have taken root; in contradistinction to that made of faggots, hurdles, or dry boughs.”
- “HEDGE. n.s. [. . . Saxon.] A fence made round grounds with prickly bushes.”
- Ware, Isaac, 1756, A Complete Body of Architecture (pp. 641, 645) 
- “When a garden is already made in an ill spot, all that can be done is to open agreeable views by clearing away walls and hedges in the grounds . . . this is to be done when something pleasing, some view of elegant, wild nature can be let in. . . .
- “A meadow and its hedge excelled all the beauty of our former gardens; because the parterre there afforded only the ill fruits of labour, and the hedge lost the very vegetable character. In the wild state of nature all is free, all therefore is cheerful, and all pleasing. . . . Instead of the precise regularity we have so lately and so difficultly banished, in those vast gardens that have been described to us so happily, there scarce appears a strait line. The profusion of flowers with which they are embellished are stuck in natural hedges or raised on irregular hillocks, mimicking savage nature, only in a state of more variety.”
- “Where the soil is too barren for the growth of an hedge, there is often stone ready for a wall. . . .
- “In the dry pastures hedges are the proper fences. They are of great service; beside their sheltering the cattle, they defend the grass from the summer heats, and shelter it in the spring from the drying winds. ...The hedges also are of value for their produce in useful wood. . . .
- “Of hedges....
- “No article [inclosure], in the husbandman’s whole concern, is of more importance. Hedges are the first object that naturally should strike his imagination, as they are the defence and guard of all the rest. . . .
- “In all inclosed lands the farmer must keep up a good fence, if he expect [sic] to reap the fruit of his labours. The better and the more perfectly the fence is kept in repair, the greater will be his security of his profits: one little defect may do him more injury, by letting in cattle upon his crop, than would have been the cost of a most perfect repair.”
- “[After a description of the types of trees used in hedges, Miller notes that] [h]edges are either planted to make fences around enclosures, or to part off or divide several parts of a Garden; when they are designed as outward fences, they are planted either with Hawthorne, Crabs, or Blackthorn, which is slow; but those hedges which are planted in Gardens, either to surround Wilderness Quarters, or to screen the other parts of a Garden from Sight, are planted with various Sorts of plants, according to the fancy of the Owner some preferring Evergreen Hedges, in which case the Holly is best, next to the Yew, then Laurel, &c. . . .
- “The taste in Gardening having been greatly altered of late Years for the better, these clipped Hedges have been almost excluded; and it is hoped that a little Time will entirely banish them out of English gardens, as it has done by the shorne evergreens, which a few years since were esteemed the greatest beauties in gardens. The latter was introduced by the Dutch Gardeners, and that of tall Hedges with Trellage work was in imitation of the French gardens; in some of which of the Iron Trellage to support the trees which composed their cabinets, porticos, bowers, Pavilons, and other pieces of rural architecture, amounted to a very great sum.”
- Squibb, Robert, 1787, The Gardener’s Calendar for South-Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina ( 1980: 51) 
- “If you plant the orange trees for a hedge, about ten feet will be a good distance; but if intended for an orchard or a grove, twenty feet will not be too much.”
- Deane, Samuel, 1790, The New-England Farmer (pp. 91–92)
- “FENCE. . . .
- “In some places it is best to make hedge fences. There are two kinds of fence that go by this name, dead hedge, and quickset hedge.
- “To make a good dead hedge, take stakes about six feet long, and set them fast in the ground, upon the line of your fence, about four feet apart, or a less distance if your bushes be short. Then interweave bushes, young trees, or small slender limbs of trees. This fence will answer with a yearly repairing till the stakes fail.
- “But quickset hedge is much better, as it is a perpetual fence. It must be made with different sets in different grounds. . . .
- “It takes time to make these hedges. But on the whole they are cheap fences, as they require but little repairing, besides trimming and pruning, to prevent their growing so high as to cast too great a shadow.”
- Main, Thomas, 28 September 1807, Directions for the Transplantation and Management of Young Thorn or Other Hedge Plants (pp. 15, 37) 
- “A row of suitable shrubs or trees, planted at a proper distance from each other, on the plain cultivated surface of the ground, in order to form a fence is what here is meant by plain hedging, to distinguish it from the common method used in Britain, called hedge and ditch. . . . Those who are curious to understand the manner of conducting this old way of hedging, will find in Mr. Bernard McMahon’s ‘American Gardener’s Callender [sic],’ a clear and excellent description thereof, with much other useful information in this art, as well as in the various departments of horticulture, &c. . . .
- “A promiscuous assemblage of several different kinds of plants in a hedge cannot be recommended; such a heterogeneous composition will neither make a good fence nor look handsome.”
- Neil, William, 28 November 1812, “On Hedging and Ditching, by William Neill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania” (quoted in Gardiner and Hepburn 1818: 146) 
- “Where I became first acquainted with hedges, unless around kitchen gardens, or towns, or villages, where lots were small, you would not see one in five hundred trimmed. They, in general, let them grow till ten, twelve, or perhaps twenty years old, then, with a sharp handsaw, take them off a few inches above the bank, when you would immediately have a more formidable fence then ever, and so on for ages.”
- “GARDENING. . . .
- “Yet the fall of the leaves by autumnal winds is troublesome, and a high wall is therefore advisable. Spruce firs have been used in close-shorn hedges; which, as evergreens, are proper enough to plant for a screen in a single row, though not very near to the wall; but the best evergreens for this purpose are the evergreen oak and the cork-tree. . . .
- “Here it may be observed, that if any evergreen hedges are desired in or about the garden, yew, box, alaternus, celastrus, phillyrea, and pryacantha, may be kept low, and clipped in form, if so desired; in addition to which, if a few roses were intermixed, it would have a very pretty effect. A deciduous hedge for subdivision, or screen, &c. may be made of elms or limes, setting the larger plants at five feet asunder, and a smaller one between. Or an ordinary fence, or subdivision, may be quickly formed of elder cuttings, stuck in at two feet asunder, which may be kept cut within bounds.”
- Taylor, John, 1817, Arator (p. 147) 
- “If these hedges are cultivated properly, and the land is strong, they will form an elegant live ever-green fence, in a shorter time, than is necessary to raise a thorn fence in England, according to the books.”
- “In those parts of the union where the ripening of fruit requires no aid from artificial warmth and where therefore brick or stone walls can be preferable, only on account of their superior strength as fences, live hedges, or banks with live hedges upon them, if well made, not only present an excellent resistance to incroachments, but are an exquisitely beautiful ornament to the mansion and its adjacent grounds. And as the propagation of live hedges is everyday becoming a subject of more serious importance, and will soon be one of indisputable necessity, in the long inhabited parts of the union where timber is becoming very scarce and dear, it may not be amiss, in this place, to turn for a moment from our particular object of enquiry, for the purpose of awakening all our agriculturalists to a consideration of the expediency of cultivating them, and of offering them a few instructionson [sic] this point of rural economy. . . .
- “For gardens, hedges are advisable for two distinct purposes: The first, outward fences to serve as a wall for the exclusion of tresspassers [sic]; the other inward, for the purposes of ornament and shade.
- “For the former, the haw-thorn is excellent. . . .
- “For internal ornamental hedges, privet, yew, laurel and box, cedar and juniper, are most generally used.”
- “38. Yet, with all these circumstances in my favour, I proceed with faultering accent to propose, even for a garden, a live fence, especially when I have to notice, that I know not how to get the plants, unless I, in the outset, bring them, or their seeds, from England! However, I must suppose this difficulty surmounted; then proceed to describe this fence that I would have, if I could.
- “39. In England it is called a Quick-Set Hedge. The truth is, however, that it ought rather to be called an Everlasting Hedge; for, it is not, as will be seen by-and-by, so very quickly set; or, at least, so very quickly raised. . . .
- “49. And why should America not possess this most beautiful and useful plant [the Haw-Thorn]? She has English gew-gaws, English Play-Actors, English Cards and English Dice and Billiards; English fooleries and English vices enough in all conscience; and why not English Hedges, instead of post-and-rail and board fences? If, instead of these steril-looking and cheerless enclosures the gardens and meadows and fields, in the neighbourhood of New York and other cities and towns, were divided by quick-set hedges, what a difference would the alteration make in the look, and in the real value too, of those gardens, meadows and fields!”
- “486. Forest trees. . . . From the Transactions of the Society of Agriculture of New York, we learn, that hawthorn hedges and other live fences are generally adopted in the cultivated districts; but the time is not yet arrived for forming timber-plantations. . . .
- “1804. Walls are unquestionably the grandest fences for parks; and arched portals, the noblest entrances; between these and the hedge or pale, and rustic gate, designs in every degree of gradation, both for lodges, gates, and fences, will be found in the works of Wright, Gandy, Robertson, Aikin, Pocock, and other architects who have published on the rural department of their art. The pattern books of manufacturers of iron gates and hurdles, and of wire workers, may also be advantageously consulted.”
- “Live hedges.—The trees mostly used for hedges are the White English Hawthorn, the Holly, the Red Cedar, and the Privet. In the vicinity of Baltimore and Washington cities, they use two species of American Hawthorn, which appear to have decided advantages over the European. The Rhamnus catharticus forms a most beautiful hedge....
- “Crataegus oxycantha, or European White Thorn.—This is the common species used throughout England for hedges, and which has been considerably planted in this country for the same purpose. It answers very well trained as ornamental tree among shrubbery, but is far less suitable for hedges than many of our native species. ...
- “Ilex aquifolium, or Common European.—
- . . . It is found very suitable for hedges, for which purpose it is extensively used in England. In addition to the Common Holly, there are a great number of varieties, viz. . . .
- “Privet, or Prim.—Ligustrum vulgare.—This shrub is generally known, and was formerly greatly cultivated for hedges in this country, and is still so in many parts of Europe. The hedges formed of it are beautiful in the extreme, arising from its fine myrtle-like foliage, and its abundant clusters of berries in autumn and winter; and, when the sub-evergreen variety is used for this purpose, it possesses the advantage of retaining much of its foliage during the winter season. . . .
- “Mespilus pyracantha, or Evergreen Thorn.— This has very dense foliage; the leaves are small, and of a fine dark green; it produces abundance of white flowers, which are delicate, and much admired; but, like the foregoing, it is its fruit which gives it the greatest claim to beauty. These are of the same size as those of the preceding species, they are of a fiery red, and are produced in the greatest abundance, and retain their beauty during the autumnal and part of the winter months, and serve to decorate this shrub at a season when nature most needs their aid. Being a sub-evergreen, and retaining a large portion of its foliage during winter, gives it another claim as an appendage to the shrubbery. It is now considerably planted for hedges, for which purpose, uniting beauty with usefulness, it does not appear to be surpassed by any other. ...
- “Rhamnus catharticus, or Sea Buckthorn.—The leaves of this tree are oval, and pointed at the ends, and about two inches long, with serrated edges; the flowers are green, and produced in clusters from the sides of the branches, and are no way conspicuous; it rises to the height of 14 or 15 feet, throwing out numerous shoots on all sides, and produces, during the autumn, abundant clusters of black berries, which form its principal ornament. It has long been used in Europe for hedges, and had latterly been planted in this country for the same purpose; and I have seldom seen a more beautiful hedge of any other shrub, and consider it extremely eligible for that purpose.”
- “HEDGE, n. hej. [Sax. hege, heag, hoeg, hegge;
- G. heck, D. heg, haag; Dan. hekke or hek; Sw. hagn, hedge, protection; Fr. haie; W. cae. Hence Eng. haw, and Hague in Holland. . . .]
- “Properly, a thicket of thorn-bushes or other shrubs or small trees; but appropriately, such a thicket planted round a field to fence it, or in rows, to separate the parts of a garden.”
- Floy, Michael, 24 September 1830, “Description of Trees and Shrubs” (New England Farmer 9: 74, 84)
- “Gleditschia triacanthos,—Honey locust, or three thorn Acacia. It makes a handsome stately tree, the foliage is handsome, but the dreadful long triple thorns with which the tree is armed, give it a forbidding aspect. Trees of this kind are often used for hedges, and if planted thick, they soon make an impenetrable fence against man and beast, but must be kept cut down to 4 or 5 feet every season, or the hedge would soon be spoiled. . . .
- “Crataegus oxyacantha, the Hawthorn. . . . Hawthorn hedges are much used in England, where they look very handsome when kept clipped, but they do not answer so well in this country, the heat of our summers causing the leaves to fall off early, often in July; on that account they are not much used—we have several things which are better calculated for that purpose. . . .
- “Ligustrum vulgare virens. Large European Privet, a very handsome evergreen shrub, flowering in great profusion, and succeeded by bunches of black round berries. It bears clipping well, and is therefore well calculated for hedges, or to enclose ornamental plantations. It grows quick, and is well adapted to our climate, and when planted in a hedge row, and kept clipped, it makes a beautiful hedge, and ought to be in more general use.”
- “A Flower Garden should be protected from cold cutting winds by close fences, or plantations of shrubs, forming a close and compact hedge, which should be neatly trimmed every year. . . .
- “Shrubs are not only necessary to the embellishment of a flower garden, but many kinds of them are eligible for hedges to it, and may be planted at a trifling expense. These hedges should be frequently trimmed and trained, the sides cut even, and the tops sparingly clipped, so as to make them ornamental, as well as useful, and also to increase the vigour of their growth.”
- “Hedges may be of various kinds, such as the single hedge and ditch the hedge and bank; the level hedge, &c.; of which, descriptions may be found in Loudon’s Encyclopedia of Agriculture, and other books of husbandry.”
- Downing, A. J., February 1838, “On the Cultivation of Hedges in the United States” (Magazine of Horticulture 4: 6, 43)
- “In many sections of the Union, where timber is becoming scarce, and stone for fencing does not abound, a substitute is anxiously sought after, and must be found in some species of plant, capable of making a close and impenetrable hedge. The advantages of live fences are, great durability, imperviousness to man and beast, a trifling expense in keeping in order, and the great beauty and elegance of their appearance. Harmonizing in color with the pleasant green of the lawn and fields, they may, without (like board fences) being offensive to the eye, be brought, in many places, quite near to the dwelling-house. ...
- “The wall of masonry, the iron paling, or the wooden fence, may be well suited to the vicinity of houses or crowded towns; but for harmony of color, freshness of foliage, durability, and, in short, all that is most desirable for beauty and protection, the verdant hedge is without an equal.”
- “HEDGES. These are becoming, and in some situations have become, highly desirable. Where there is plenty of rail timber, it will naturally be used for fences before any live enclosures. Where there is plenty of rocks also, these are the best and in the end the most economical materials for fences that can be used. But where no rocks are found, and no rail timber, it will be useful to substitute live hedges. In different sections of the country different kinds of plants proper for live fences will naturally exist. The locust for this purpose is one of the most valuable trees in the south. The Buckthorn in New England. . . . The European hawthorn . . . in the west.”
- “Hedges may either be of evergreens, neatly cut, so as to form living walls with standard plants at regular distances, to imitate architectural piers; or they may be formed of a mixture of different kinds of flowering shrubs, with evergreen standard low trees at regular distances. . . .
- “HEDGES for flower-gardens should be composed of ornamental plants, such as Cydònia japónica, Privet, Laurestinus, Rìbes sanguínea, Roses, and double-blossomed Furze, or Ivy and other climbers, trained over iron trellis-work. The hedge to a flower-garden should never be stiff and formal, so as to look like a mere barrier; but it should be so arranged, and should consist of plants which harmonize so well with the flowers in the garden, as to make them appear a part of it. For farther details on this subject, see FENCES.”
- “FENCES are employed to mark the boundary of property, to exclude trespassers, either human or quadrupedal, and to afford shelter. They are either live fences, and are then known as hedges, or dead, and are then either banks, ditches, palings, or walls; or they are a union of those two, to which titles the reader is referred. . . .
- “HEDGE, properly includes every kind of fence, but the present details apply for the most part to growing fences. . . .
- “All full trained hedges, in order to preserve them in proper form, close and neat, must be clipped, both on the sides and top, once or twice a year, but never less than once; . . . regular hedges should be cut as even as a wall on the sides, and the top as straight as a line; observing, after the hedge is formed to its proper height and width,always to cut each year’s clipping nearly to the old of the former year, particularly on the side; for by no means suffer them to grow above a foot or two wide, nor suffer them to advance upon you too much at top, where it is designed or necessary to keep them to a moderate height. But to keep hedges in perfectly good order, they should be clipped twice every summer. . . . Very high hedges are both troublesome and expensive to cut. The clipping is sometimes performed by the assistance of a high machine, scaffolding or stage. . . .
- “A hedge is not only an imperfect screen, but in other respects is worse than useless, since nothing can be trained to it, and its roots exhaust the soil in their neighborhood very considerably; as the south fence of a garden it may be employed,and hawthorn is perhaps the worst shrub that could be made use of. It is the nursery of the same aphides, beetles, and caterpillars, that feed upon the foliage of the apple and pear . . . evergreen are better than deciduous hedges, and more especially the holly, which is not so slow a grower as is generally imagined.
- “In a cloudy day in April or May, the wind seems to be actually refrigerated in passing through a thick hawthorn hedge. . . . When the garden is of considerable extent, three or four acres and upwards, it admits of cross-walls or fences for an increase of training surface and additional shelter.”
- Downing, A. J., February 1847, “A Chapter on Hedges” (Horticulturist 1: 345–46)
- “The advantages of a hedge over a common fence, besides its beauty, are its durability, its perfect protection against man and beast, and the additional value it confers upon the land which it encloses. A fence of wood, or stone, as commonly made, is, at the best, but a miserable and tottering affair; soon needing repairs, which are a constant drain upon the purse; often liable to be broken down by trespassing Philistines; and, before many years, decaying, or so far falling down, as to demand a complete renewal. Now a good hedge,made of the two plants we shall presently recommend,will last forever; it is an ‘everlasting fence,’at least in any acceptation of the word known to our restless and changing countrymen. . . .
- “As a protection to the choicer products of the soil, which tempt the spoiler of the orchard and the garden, nothing is so efficient as a good hedge. It is like an impregnable fortress, neither to be scaled, broken through, nor climbed over. Fowls will not fly over it, because they fear to alight upon its top; and men and beasts are not likely to make more than one attempt to force its green walls. It shows a fair and leafy shield to its antagonist, but it has thousands of concealed arrows ready at the moment of assault, and there are few creatures,however bold, who care to ‘come to the scratch’ twice with such a foe. Indeed a well made and perfect thorn hedge is so thick that a bird cannot fly through it.” [Fig. 7]
- Elliott, Charles Wyllys, October 1848,“Reviews: Cottages and Cottage Life,” (Horticulturist 3: 181)
- “As far as practicable, make divisions whichare necessary about the house of the ha-ha or blind fence, or of hedges, for which purpose the Maclura or Osage Orange is believed to be one of the most desirable plants.”
- Downing, A. J., 1849, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (pp. 302, 305, 310,344–45) 
- “We have ourselves tried the experiment with a hedge of it [arbor vitae] about 200 feet long,which was transplanted about five or six feet high from the native habitats of the young trees, and which fully answers our expectations respecting it,forming a perfectly thick screen, and an excellent shelter on the north of a range of buildings at all seasons of the year, growing perfectly thick without trimming, from the very ground upwards. . . .
- “For hedges the Holly is altogether unrivalled;and it was also one of the favorite plants for verdant sculpture, in the ancient style of gardening. . . .
- “The Yew, like the Holly, makes an excellent evergreen hedge—close, dark green, and beautiful when clad in the rich scarlet berries. . . .
- “Verdant hedges are elegant substitutes for stone or wooden fences, and we are surprised that their use has not been hitherto more general. . . .Picturesque hedges are easily formed by intermingling a variety of flowering shrubs, sweet briars,etc., and allowing the whole to grow together in rich masses. . . . In all cases where hedges are employed in the natural style of landscape (and not in close connexion with highly artificial objects, buildings, etc.), a more agreeable effect will be produced by allowing the hedge to grow somewhat irregular in form, or varying it by planting near it other small trees and shrubs to break the outline, than by clipping it in even and formal lines.”
- “THE cheapest, most beautiful, and durable fences are hedges, and all dividing fences of cottage gardens, should be made of hedges; there are several kinds of plants well adapted for the purpose.”
- “ES-PAL’IER, (es-pal’yer,) n. [Fr. espalier; Sp. espalera; H. spalliera; from L. palus, a stake or pole.]
- “1. A row of trees planted about a garden or in hedges, so as to inclose quarters or separate parts, and trained up to a lattice of wood-work, or fastened to stakes, forming a close hedge or shelter to protect plants against injuries from wind or weather. Ency.”
- “Every fine [flower] garden should be well secured by fence or hedge, if at all exposed to the public road. A hedge is far the prettiest, if well managed, neat, and ornamental.”
- Coppock, W. R., March 1851, “Domestic Notices: Random Notes of a Winter’s Evening” (Horticulturist 6: 151)
- “A thoroughly protective hedge, or an uncouth looking strong fence, is absolutely necessary to the orchardist, if he may derive either pleasure or profit from his trees. Climbing a fence, or pushing aside a picket, and pelting the choice apples, pears, &c. from the trees, is, I am sorry to say, not considered generally a misdemeanor, or theft, at the present day.”
Thomas Jefferson, Letter describing plans for a "Garden Olitory", c. 1804.
Anonymous, "View of a Picturesque farm (ferme ornée)," in A. J. Downing, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1849), p. 120, fig. 27.
February 20, 1819
- A. J. Downing, “A Chapter on Hedges,” Horticulturalist 1 (February 1847): 346.
- Jefferson purchased much of his plant material for Monticello from Thomas Main, a nurseryman and author of an 1807 work on hedges. See Brenda Bullion, “Early American Farming and Gardening Literature: ‘Adapted to the Climates and Seasons of the United States,’ ” Journal of Garden History 12, no. 1 (1992): 37–38. view on Zotero.
- For example, see Ezekiel Hersey Derby, “Cultivation and Management of the Buckthorn . . . for Live Hedges,” Horticultural Register 2 (1 January 1836): 27–29. For a discussion of scientific farming in the Boston area, see Charles Arthur Hammond, “ ‘Where the Arts and the Virtues Unite’: Country Life Near Boston, 1637–1864” (Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 1982), chapters 2 and 3. view on Zotero.
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- George William Johnson, A Dictionary of Modern Gardening, ed. by David Landreth (Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1847), view on Zotero.
- A. J. [Andrew Jackson] Downing, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Adapted to North America, 4th edn (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1991), view on Zotero.
- Walter Elder, The Cottage Garden of America (Philadelphia: Moss, 1849), view on Zotero.
- Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language (Springfield, Mass.: George and Charles Merriam, 1850), view on Zotero.
- Joseph Breck, The Flower-Garden, or Breck’s Book of Flowers (Boston: John P. Jewett, 1851), view on Zotero.