03 Dec 2021

Kildare Gardening: Variety in hedging adds diversity to your garden

In The Garden with Jo of Caragh Nurseries

Kildare Gardening: Variety in hedging adds diversity to your garden

Yew Hedging is a popular option in Ireland

In continuing my hedging column this week (the previous two parts of which were published in the Kildare Post, and are available to read at, I'm still focusing on evergreen hedging species.

The bare-root season is nearly over and with the continued Covid-19 restrictions, you might consider getting out into the garden and enjoying the relatively mild weather we’ve been having (albeit last weekend brought a touch of frost).

I've already covered laurel and Portugese laurel; Phoninia 'Red Robin'; Thuja plicata; box hedging and the versatile and colourful holly. To conclude my selection of evergreen hedging, this week I’m featuring two leylandii options and a brief on yew and the benefits thereof!


Botanical Latin names — Cupressocyparis leylandii; also known as leyland cypress, leylandi and conifer hedging. The benefits of leylandii are that it is: Fastest-growing hedging plant; Evergreen (keeps its leaves all year round); Least expensive (cheapest) especially at heights over 4ft (120cm) tall; Speed of growth up to 1 metre (3ft) per year; Available in larger sizes Leylandii is very tolerant of wind and cold temperatures; Dense foliage acts as sound barrier; Best at filtering particulates (air pollution) from passing traffic; Not fussy about soil or position but doesn’t like to be waterlogged; Eventual height if let over 30m (100ft) although they are best if kept well under control; Hardy down to -25°C.

Leylandii is a conifer that is the fastest –growing, evergreen, hedging plant and will create a hedge quickly. Because it is fast growing, it is generally the cheapest way of forming an evergreen garden hedge and hence the most popular. It gets some very bad press but in the right location leylandii makes a great hedge and does create not only a screen but a sound barrier too.

If it is pruned every year, leylandii will create a formal dark-green evergreen screen or box-shaped hedge, similar to a yew hedge. Leylandii can be kept to any height as long as you trim it twice a year.

Leylandii Castlewellan Gold

Botanical names: Cupressocyparis leylandii or ‘Castlewellan Gold’.

Common names: Golden leylandii; golden leyland cypress, golden leylandi.

The benefits of Castlewellan Gold are: Fast-growing hedging plant; Evergreen; Attractive golden-yellow foliage; Tough and hardy; Available in larger sizes; Growth in a good year up to 75cm (2’6”) per year.

Golden leylandii will grow in any free-draining (ie not waterlogged) soil in full sun or partial shade. The foliage will be more golden in full sun and pale green in shade. Eventual height if let up to 25m (75ft) Hardy down to -25°C.

Leylandii Castlewellan Gold is the most popular form of golden leylandii hedging. It is fast growing so will form a hedge quickly. If it is trimmed every year, it will create a dense evergreen garden hedge that is bright yellowish-gold in the spring and summer. The golden colour turns a more lime-green in autumn and it can turn a bronze colour in a cold winter. As with the green leylandii, we recommend trimming the sides of a Castlewellan hedge once a year and the tops twice a year.

Castlewellan Gold Leylandii is slightly slower growing than the green leylandii. For this reason it is usually slightly more expensive than green leylandii for the equivalent height plant. It will grow in any soil except for water-logged soil.

Yew Hedging

Botanical name: taxus baccata, also known as Irish Yew. The benefits of yew hedging are: Deep green formal hedge; Small amount of Orange/Red berries in winter; Evergreen; Low-maintenance; Growth in a good year 30cm (1ft) per year. Yew hedging plants will grow in any free-draining soil in full sun to full shade. Their eventual height if let is over 3m10ft but can easily be kept trimmed. They are hardy down to -20°.

Yew trees are very wind tolerant and hardy Yew is tolerant of urban pollution and a semi-coastal position.

Yew is a dark green conifer that forms a superb, dense, evergreen hedge. It is often seen in stately homes and formal gardens as it can be trimmed into box-shaped hedging and topiary shapes. It can even be kept as a small hedge instead of Box hedging. As a result of the slow growth rate, it requires less maintenance once the hedge is established.

Best of the offers for yew hedging

Yew Hedging potted 45L 125-150cm (4-5ft) €48.00

This is only a small amount of the hedging plants so don't miss out on next week's article. In the meantime, get planting before the end of the season.

Stay safe, stay well, stay in your own garden — Jo.


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