hazelnut I’m thinking that every part of our garden has to “pay its way” and that a standard privet hedge just doesn’t contribute enough to merit consideration. So I’ve been looking at edible hedges, and the one plant that really stands out for me for this is the Hazelnut (or Cob nut or Filbert) they can be kept down to hedge height and should produce a dense hedge with flowers and – obviously – copious supplies of delicious and nutritious nuts which will store well. They seem to be freely available, with dozens of varieties listed at online nurseries, and they don’t seem to be too hard to grow. There’s a good introductory article from The Times on popular trees for a small garden and here is the guidance from Blackmoor Nurseries:

Cobnut trees are hardy and grow well on a wide range of soils except those that are waterlogged, but like all plants they grow best in soil conditions that suit them.

They prefer a good friable topsoil overlying a free draining substrate. A soil that is too fertile will tend to produce trees with excessive vigour, which will not crop well. However, it is still possible to grow reasonably sized and cropping trees on stony ground as long as there is sufficient soil and good drainage.

Cobnuts are largely self sterile – the pollen from a given variety cannot pollinate the same variety. If you live in the countryside where there are plenty of wild hazels nearby, then these will probably pollinate your trees.

A neutral to alkaline soil is ideal, but cobnuts also grow well in more acid soils.

Trees are sold online bare-rooted when dormant (usually between Nov-March). I’ve missed my chance for this year, but the nurseries start taking orders from April, so once I’ve got my head around the different varieties I’ll get on and order some.