December 12, 2015
Wrapping My Hedges and Shrubs with Burlap
Here at my Bedford farm, one of the first signs cooler weather is around the corner is the sight of burlap being wrapped around my shrubs and hedges. Burlap covers protect the tender branches from splaying and breaking from the weight of snow, while shielding the foliage from freezing windburn. It is a practice I've followed for years, and I think it also provides a cozy and pretty look to the winter landscape. This season, we're lucky - because of milder autumn temperatures, it appears all the burlap covers will be constructed long before the first storm arrives.
Here are some photos of this year's "burlapping" process.
1 Rolls and rolls of burlap are needed to cover my hedges and shrubs each winter. After every season, any burlap still in good condition is saved for use the following year.
2 The project also requires rolls and rolls of jute twine.
3 The needles are specially designed for sewing jute. These five-inch long needles have large eyes and bent tips.
4 The burlap is unrolled and cut to the measurements of the hedge or shrub being covered.
5 This year, we decided to use wooden stakes instead of bamboo. These one-and-a-half by one-and-a-half inch pieces are milled right here at my farm.
6 Screws are used to connect the stakes of each frame.
7 The stakes are then placed sturdily into the ground surrounding the hedge.
8 Chhiring ensures each upright stake is well connected to the horizontal pieces.
9 The frames are built at least one foot above the hedge so even the heaviest snow doesn't weigh the burlap down and crush the tender foliage.
10 Here is another frame waiting to be covered with burlap.
11 The crew builds a section of burlap frames before draping the fabric - it has become a well-paced production line process.
12 More framing in front of the paddock.
13 The burlap is carefully wrapped around the planting.
14 Because the burlap covers are custom fitted for each hedge and shrub, any burlap cover from past seasons is labeled, so it can be reused in the same exact location the following year.
15 Once completely wrapped, the burlap is pulled tightly against the frame and hand-sewn closed.
16 Everyone on the crew has developed very good sewing skills.
17 And finally, the burlap gets sandwiched between wooden slats which are screwed tightly together.
18 Shorter stakes are measured and placed at the foot of the row. The burlap will be wrapped on the outside of these stakes, so the entire section is straight and secure.
19 Here was one side of the hedge border surrounding my herbaceous peony bed.
20 Here is a view of one of the hedges from the inside of the peony bed. Because the hedges are wide, long pieces of burlap are sewn together to accommodate properly.
21 Here is the corner of another side of the peony bed hedge, where the burlap was sewn taut.
22 These hedge rows are all tucked away for the winter.
23 The entire process of wrapping all the boxwood shrubs, hedges, and various other plantings, takes several weeks to complete, but it is well-worth the effort to protect all these beautiful specimens.
24 The back side of a hedge row on my terrace.
25 This side is in between the upper and lower terraces by my Winter House.
26 This is the upper terrace from the other side of my Winter House.
27 The round tops of larger boxwood are fitted with separate pieces of burlap and neatly hand-sewn to the sides.
28 This burlap section is in front of my kitchen - still in the process of being completed, but looking very nice.
29 Here is a view looking down toward the stable, where the Boxwood Allee was also covered with burlap. There are many shrubs and hedges to cover before the first snowfall.
30 This area in front of my home is finished and ready for the winter ahead. Next week, I will show you more finished burlap structures and the great burlap project that was done by my Boxwood Allee.