Hedges have a number of uses in the garden.
They may screen utility areas and hide ugly fences. They might provide privacy and protection from wind.
Dense, closely planted hedges will create a haven for small native birds. Hedges may be heavily pruned to give a formal appearance or lightly trimmed for an informal look.
They may be composed of one variety or have a number of different plants. Many hedges using exotic plants tend to be composed of one variety such as the popular conifer hedges.
With native hedges we prefer to use a range of plants rather than a monoculture. This gives variety to the garden and also by careful selection there will be something in flower throughout the year.
The hakeas are another group of natives that have many species suitable for life in hedges.
Many melaleucas are useful hedging plants. Melaleuca armillaris, the Bracelet Honey-myrtle, is a spreading shrub. Light green, fine foliage complements the white bottlebrush-like flowers that cover plants in spring and autumn. The foliage is dense enough to provide nesting sites for small birds.
Many wattles are suitable hedging subjects. Acacia cultriformis, the Knife-leaf Wattle, has grey-green triangular foliage coupled with bright yellow, globular flowers in spring. Acacia iteaphylla, the Flinders Range Wattle, is a shrubby wattle often with weeping foliage. Yellow flowers are carried throughout autumn and winter.
Callistemon "Endeavour" is another variety that provides flowers throughout the cooler months. In fact this red-flowered bottlebrush carries some blooms throughout the year. Remove the spent brushes to keep plants dense and blooming bounteously.
The hakeas are another group of natives that have many species suitable for life in hedges. Hakea salicifolia, the Willow-leaved Hakea, is a tall shrub with dense foliage and masses of white flowers between August and November. Flowers are followed by attractive, egg-shaped, persistent woody fruits.
Hakea laurina is known as the Pincushion Hakea and is a tall shrub with narrow, leathery leaves. In late autumn and winter plants produce dense, globular flower heads. Blooms are an eye-catching red with protruding white styles. They are rich in nectar and attract honeyeaters.
We should not forget the grevilleas when making hedge suggestions. Many species and varieties are suitable for this purpose.
Grevillea "Coastal Glow" is a good example of a native hedging plant. This medium shrub has oblong leaves about 20 centimetres long. Toothbrush-shaped flowers are seven centimetres long and reddish-purple. The lengthy flowering period extends from August to February. Blooms are conspicuous, profuse and attract honeyeaters. An occasional light pruning is appreciated.
Grevillea "Poorinda Constance" is one of a number of Poorinda hybrids developed in Victoria. Poorinda Constance is a rounded shrub with shiny leaves up to three centimetres long. Red flowers are carried in spidery clusters. The main flowering period is from winter to spring. Sporadic flowering occurs at other times. The foliage is dense and provides safe bird nesting sites.
Finally we should mention Banksia "Giant Candles". This shrub has dense foliage and flower spikes up to 40 centimetres long and a deep bronzy-orange colour. The large spikes are carried, in large numbers during autumn and winter.
These are only a few of the native shrubs that could be grown in hedges. They will bring colour and interest to your garden.