A dense, straight hedge looks elegant, neat, a bit like a well-groomed lawn. But a neglected or poorly trimmed hedge can be ugly for a long time… even more so than a neglected lawn! Look at the relationship between the man and the hedge.
Posted yesterday at 12:00 pm
There are tailors, and there are tailors. Jean Perrault is considered part of the second category. He has been trimming hedges and bushes in the Basses-Laurentides region for 35 years. For him, it is not only a livelihood, but also a passion. “I like going to work,” sums up Mr. Perrault.
And his clients, he says, are proud, very proud of their hedge.
“Some people have been cutting their hedges for 25, 30 years, stresses Jean Perrault. They don’t put it in anyone’s hands, and rightly so. »
Some of them accompany the hedge trimmers throughout the operation to ensure that the hedge is cut according to the rules of the art. Jean Perrault remembers this gentleman who would hit his recently cut hedge with his cane to give it a little volume, a bit like the client who runs his hand through his hair when leaving the hairdresser’s.
“There are those who are meticulous in life. Your house is neat, your car is clean, your parking lot is clean, there are no weeds on your lawn… It’s a whole. »
Jo’Anne Bélanger shares the same passion for the cedar hedge. (We say cedar in Quebec, but it’s actually western cedar.)
Thanks to the small cedars that she went to collect in the forest, Jo’Anne grew two (majestic) hedges that serve as shelter from the wind on her land in Saint-Sylvestre, in Chaudière-Appalaches. One for her pool and one around the fireplace.
Their hedges are narrow, dense, straight.
“The thuya that is left free, as a tree, is also absolutely beautiful. But when you plant it to make a hedge, you have to maintain it. We don’t have a choice,” says Jo’Anne Bélanger, who has seen hedges cut down with a saw because they lacked love.
“I am a good witness to neighborly disputes that cedar hedges can cause! she adds with a laugh.
In their eyes, we either like it or we don’t. “I don’t think there is any middle ground. »
“The Taste of Crying”
In the opposite camp, there are those who find the cedar hedge attracts too many insects, those who find it outdated, or those who are tired of annual cuttings. There are also those who have nothing against hedges in general, but everything against THEIR hedge (or the neighbour’s). A hedge that has been allowed to grow and is subsequently pruned too hard, whether it is cedar or hardwood, leaves a lot to be desired.
When Bouchra Moutayakine bought his house in 2021, the cedar hedge that framed his lot was no longer very pretty. But when his neighbor decided to trim what she could on his side in the hope that it would “grow back better,” the hedge became downright unsightly.
discouraged, m.me Moutayakine had sought advice in a gardening group on Facebook. “Every time I see her, I want to cry,” she wrote.
A year later, the emotion is less strong (“I got used to seeing it so ugly!”), but the hedge has hardly improved. METERme Moutayakine knows very well: there is not much to do.
“It’s a shame, because a beautiful garden and a well-kept hedge give the image of something majestic, even if the house is not majestic,” says Ms.me Moutayakine, who must now take care of the “little neglected side” of his land.
In the eyes of horticulture columnist Larry Hodgson, author of The Laidback Gardener blog, if people keep cedars, it’s mainly to get a certain prestige from them. In short, a bit like the search for the perfect lawn. But the problem with thuya is that it is an “unforgiving” plant, he said, joined by phone.
If you prune green, the plant will grow back. But if you prune too much, in the brown forest, the branches will no longer turn green there.
If one year you haven’t had time to trim it, the hedge exceeds the allowed height and you have to trim it, it will be completely brown… and it won’t start again.
Larry Hodgson, horticultural columnist
If an incident occurs (such as the woman who recently wrote to the Laidback Gardener to say that part of her hedge had been burned by a truck’s hose), “there’s not much to do,” sums up Larry Hodgson, other than prune. a bit and hoping that the lower stems will eventually grow large enough to hide the hole.
Larry Hodgson prefers hedges of deciduous shrubs, such as bushy cinquefoil, blueberry, arctic willow, or Japanese spirea. Plants that grow back… and forgive. “That’s my lazy gardener opinion!” »
Tailor Jean Perrault agrees that sometimes the solution is to rip everything apart and replant, but he prefers to explore other avenues first, like pruning and redirecting the sap.
Redesign the screen
The relationship between man and the hedge is also the relationship between man and intimacy, believes Émile Forest, gardener and general coordinator of New Neighbors, an organization that seeks to transform our relationship with the territory. If we feel good in nature, it is among other things because it allows us to camouflage ourselves, he says. “The hedge is perhaps an extension of that”, sums up Émile Forest.
To create this screen, the hedge is one solution, the wooden fence dressed in vines is another, but the residents of Nouveaux like to see things differently. “To promote diversity, I think there is a way to create plant beds by mixing different species, which have a bit more organic shapes: cedars or firs, maybe, but also other shrubs. »
Half of New Neighbors’ clients are suburban residents who have cedar hedges. Rip it all out? This is generally not what is recommended. Cedars not only welcome birds, but it is a native conifer, which grew on the island of Montreal. Nouveaux’s neighbors often suggest that their clients cut their hedge differently, let it grow a little, improve it with other species. Yes, Émile Forest agrees, we are losing ground, but we are giving back to nature. “To unite the patio spaces, we can make a network of pathways framed by nature,” he says. It doesn’t have to be a white carpet with a backdrop of cedar hedges. »
Émile Forest also sees a parallel between the cedar hedge and the lawn, “two great beauties of nature that have been tamed and denatured.” “We lost sight of what a cedar was,” he said. We use it in a way that is not disturbing, but could be really different, more diversified. »
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