Amanda MackinnonHedge experiments with Daphne and Leptospermum

I’ve been playing with a couple of low hedges in my garden lately – although most of my garden is planted out in what I would loosely call an ‘informal, coastal, and predominantly native style’ I must admit I am partial to a good hedge. Murphy’s Law says that one plant in the hedge will always die and ruin the look, but I think it’s worth the risk. See what you think of these…

Daphne Eternal Fragrance hedge

Daphne Eternal Fragrance hedge with both pink and white flowering forms in my garden.

The first is a daphne hedge. I actually planted a mixture of ‘Eternal Fragrance’ and its sister ‘Spring Pink Eternal Fragrance’. Both plants are super hardy and their difference only becomes apparent when they burst into bloom. ‘Eternal Fragrance’ having a white flower, and ‘Spring Pink Eternal Fragrance’ being pink.

Daphne Eternal Fragrance hedge

Daphne Eternal Fragrance hedge

My daphne hedge is two years old now and I love it. It’s planted at the base of a steep bank at the bottom of my driveway and forms a border along the length of a car parking space. Planted in this spot means it gives a lovely fragrant welcome to those who park there.

This hedge receives very little attention – just the occasional look in whilst I’m (very occasionally) weeding and an annual feed if it’s lucky. This plant is terrific as it repeat flowers throughout the year. It’s easy to grow and super tough, unlike most other daphnes. It makes a great border along the edge of this car parking space, which can be very hot and dry over the summer. I haven’t watered this hedge since planting.

The more formal Daphne Eternal Fragrance hedge

Inspiration from a more formal Daphne Eternal Fragrance hedge

Here’s a couple of photos that provided me with my inspiration. The gardens are far more formal, but I still love the look I have created with an informal garden bed behind my hedge. These plants will reach a maximum height of about 60cm.

Daphne Eternal Fragrance hedge

Daphne Eternal Fragrance hedge

My second pick is the native Leptospermum ‘Fore Shore’. This can best be described as a native alternative to English Box. I have 3 hedges in progress at the moment and they are all flying along. They are about 6 months old at the moment, and you can see that all the plants here are all looking happy. Once again, no watering. It’s a tough environment in my driveway!

A newly planted hedge of Leptospermum Fore Shore

A newly planted hedge of Leptospermum Fore Shore

Leptospermum Fore Shore hedge

Beautiful dense foliage on Leptospermum Fore Shore hedge

‘Fore Shore’ will grow to around 1m in height. You can prune it however you desire. An unpruned version is just as nice I think.

Leptospermum Fore Shore hedge in my garden

Leptospermum Fore Shore hedge in my garden

A couple of years ago I convinced a girlfriend to plant a ‘Fore Shore’ hedge along her front boundary. She lives right across the road from the water, literally 20 metres from the bay to her front door. It’s the perfect spot for this little beauty. You can see the result here. A beautiful dense hedge. This plant is great for coastal regions and very tolerant of salt spray and salt laden winds.

Leptospermum Fore Shore hedge along my friend's front boundary

Leptospermum Fore Shore hedge along my friend’s front boundary

As you can see in the image, ‘Fore Shore’ can be pruned to shape if required. This hedge was only given a trim a week before this photo was taken. Of course, you don’t need to trim it – it maintains a pretty neat shape all by itself – but it’s a great alternative to English Box if you’d prefer a native hedge. Very dry tolerant and super hardy too.

This particular hedge did fall victim to a lone joy rider running into one of the middle plants in the hedge about a year ago. The plant in question was cut back and has now bounced back amazingly well. It’s recovered and has bounced back to 3/4 of the size of the others. You can just make out the dip in this photo.

Leptospermum Fore Shore hedge -see the dip where the hedge was damaged but has since bounced back

Leptospermum Fore Shore hedge -see the dip where the hedge was damaged but has since bounced back

Once again, you can see here where my inspiration has been drawn from. I’ve seen many great ‘Fore Shore’ hedges and heard very little – in fact I am struggling to think of any negatives about this plant. Highly recommended!

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Amanda Mackinnon

About Amanda Mackinnon

Amanda's career has taken her on a remarkable journey through science, education, international business and communication. Living in a busy male dominated household – chasing around 2 noisy boys, one friendly golden retriever, a cheeky ginger cat and her husband, it’s no wonder she finds solace in the quiet beauty of plants! Amanda writes regularly for a variety of publications and is passionate about all things happening on the little island at the edge of the world.

15 thoughts on “Hedge experiments with Daphne and Leptospermum

  1. Leptospermum ‘Fore Shore’ as a hedge is absolutely stunning. Thanks so much for the idea – I can already think of a sunny spot in one of the designs I am currently working on that it would be just perfect for. We need more Buxus replacements up our sleeves, in case of box blight.
    On another note, your garden looks beautiful, Amanda. Perhaps we might have a virtual tour on a future blog post (please???).

  2. Do you think this hardy Daphne would be alright in an Adelaide garden? ( 40 degree heatwaves, full sun, very low rainfall) Curious about this as I loved growing Daphnes in NZ but always thought they needed partial shade, cool climate, plenty of H20…

  3. Hi Merenia,
    Yes. This variety was really a breakthrough in Daphne circles (even winning a Best New Product upon its Australian release) They have always been regarded as touchy plants – needing just the right soil, water levels, light etc. ‘Eternal Fragrance’ thrives in a wide range of conditions, loves full sun positions (a huge win for daphne lovers) and is dry tolerant.
    That hedge of mine is in quite poor soils, receives no water other than rainfall and is in full sun most of the day. It also happily went through a harsh bushfire season 2 years ago before the plants were fully established.
    Give it a go!

  4. Guess what Amanda,
    with the heavy rains in Sydney this year, my two Daphne Eternal Fragrance succumbed to what I have to call, Daphne rot. Same problem as the traditional Daphne. I was shocked!
    It had been so hardy for over 3 years then just became unthrifty and died.
    The Scaevola nearby coped much better.

    Marianne

  5. I love your Daphne hedges, Amanda, and I’m considering doing the same with Daphne Odora. How far apart should I place them?

    • Hi Shari, my daphne were planted about 40cm apart. Eternal Fragrance is an awesome plant- highly recommend it- much hardier than normal odora.

  6. Hi Amanda, thank for showing your Daphne hedge. Loving it to the point that I share your link to my blog too. I wonder if the white flower will last forever or is it only bloomed once a year?

  7. Hi Amanda,
    I am thinking of doing a daphne hedge on the southern side of a fence running east-west in Brisbane, meaning it will get plenty of sun in summer but only a couple of hours of morning sun in winter. Do you think it will go ok and if so could you recommend where to purchase the plants as I never see them in nursery’s up here?

    Thanks, Jo

    • Hi Jo – Unfortunately this Daphne, like too many plants on the market, doesn’t have good information from the grower about growing it in different climates. It thrives in mediterranean climates in Victoria and Tasmania (with wet cold winters and hot dry summers) but when I grew several in the humid summer and mild winter of cool subtropical Sydney, it struggled and I ended up taking them out. I suspect that in even more humid Brisbane it would not grow well at all, which is also why it’s not in your local nurseries.

  8. I’m wondering if the Daphne hedge is still growing, and if so have you had to do anything to it (like remove some plants or prune it)?

  9. Hi Dean,
    Yes it’s still growing. I lost 1 plant over the past 3 years but after removing it the neighboring specimens quickly filled the gap.
    No pruning required, they stay in great shape.
    I’ve actually recently moved house so had to say goodbye to this garden. Coincidentally my garden has the makings of a new ‘Spring Pink’ hedge with 3 plants in the ground that I will add to shortly this spring.

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