We have hedges to the front, hedges to the back and hedges to the side. They are all laurel, that dull and dreary evergreen, and I dislike them all equally. The annual early winter cut is a frightful chore, hours wobbling on a stepladder swiping up and down and side to side with a great snarling beast of a machine, striving in vain to keep it all level and even. The only pleasure I’ve ever had doing it was razing one roof-high section and replacing it with a modest fence against which I have planted three old-fashioned English plums to make an espalier.
And all for what? So that order is maintained and our precious seclusion from whatever may be going on next door is preserved. As Hugh Barker observes in his engaging saunter around the subject of hedges and our relationship with them, we are caught up in a struggle with nature,