A hedge on the ten-year plan

I used to hate hedges, kind of like some people hate golf or the color pink. I think it was subliminal reverse-classism on my part. I've since gotten over it, knock on wood). Then I saw Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control, which features a topiary artist (among other eccentrics), shown above. The film taught me to appreciate the fetishized neatness of an ornamental hedge. Especially in my garden, which is quite messy (plants flopping all around, grass hopping the barriers, slugs evident). In that environment, a neatly clipped hedge seems to say "See, I AM capable of control, I just choose not to wield that power."

Still from the film Fast, Cheap and Out of Control

What really hooked me was figuring out you don't have to stick to boxwoods - you can use flowering or berry-producing shrubs and create something interesting that is also beneficial to birds and insects. You can mix up varieties in the same hedge. The only constraint I've found is the plant needs to be small-leaved if it's going to look good sheared.

A 2 year old cutting!

But did you ever realize how expensive a hedge can be? I wanted mine to be made from native huckleberries. At 13 dollars a plant times 20 plants, that's 260 dollars! No way. Luckily, I found one of the closely related vacciniums already in my garden sprouts from cuttings. It's been a couple years since I took these cuttings and they're finally putting on some weight. Maybe in a decade I'll finally have my little hedge. And it won't cost me a dime!