Green-fingered David Calder brings hedges back to life

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David Calder of Wm Dodgson & Son Funeral Services, Moortown, Leeds, restored what he believes to be a 200-year-old hedge after traffic pollution and trampling caused it to wither.

He replaced the destroyed hedge at the Corner House Club, the local social club, with a variety of beautiful plants, including holly and blackthorn to ward off vandals.

He said: “Our funeral home is situated a short walk from the Corner House Club, of which I’m a member, which has a vibrant hedge that separates the premises from the road. However, being a gardening fanatic, I’ve noticed it slowly disappearing over recent years.

“I could tell this hedge was around two centuries old by the way it bends to the ground and has been cut at the base; an old technique known as root welting that keeps animals from passing. It was also being suffocated by the busy traffic nearby, as well as trampled on by passers-by. I therefore ordered shrubs including hornbeams and hawthorns to restore the beautiful sight and keep it from being vandalised.”

David’s passion for gardening grew while working on a farm for three years in North Yorkshire after leaving secondary school. Since then, he has helped friends, family, neighbours and local businesses bring their gardens to life through his love for horticulture, having recently developed a garden plan for Holly House Vets.

David also rescues plants and trees from being destroyed in an effort to preserve the environment, including 70 ash trees and a dozen hollies from a paved-over garden near his home.

He approached the Chairman of the Corner House Club with his ambition to restore their old hedge and was immediately met with enthusiasm.

David said: “At first they considered erecting posts, but the benefits of a fully-grown hedge far outweigh posts both in beauty and practicality. The club was therefore more than happy for me to crack on.

“Hedges are so affordable at just roughly £3 for a thorn bush. Although it requires patience and determination to reap their benefits, they’re a much more sustainable alternative to fences.”

It took David nearly three years to nurture and complete the hedge, which will now be able to grow on its own and serve as a beautiful yet effective barrier again.

Anthony Treen, Chairman of the Corner House Club, said: “David is an active member of our club and helps out with keeping our garden looking pristine. His latest contribution has been to establish a new hawthorn hedge for our car park, which looks fantastic.”

David has been asked to join the Corner House Club’s gardening team and now plans to revamp the garden area with flowers to complement the reborn hedge.

He concluded: “The hedge will take time to grow to its full potential, so while I’m keeping an eye on it, there’s lots more I can do for the club.”