Saturday saw the South of England Hedge Laying Society's annual competition take place on ground that can only be described as a quagmire. Although the weather on the day was wonderful, the effects of the wettest winter on record were still much in evidence.
The hedge was a maiden of about fifteen years, mostly Hawthorne with some large Field Maples, Spindle and probably a few other species scattered about. The cants were a the usual mix of the good, the bad and the down right difficult. The veterans section was not too bad, without much standing water but very muddy. My cant was as good, or as bad as the others, although a bit thin on the right owing to a number of stems that had died after reaching a reasonable size. Difficult to see any detail in the photo because of the small strip of poplars behind but it was mainly three to four inch Hawthorne with a few six to eight inch Field Maples and the odd straggly Spindle.
For once there seemed to be loads of time and all the veterans had the stems laid, staked and bound with plenty of time to fiddle about.
The photo below makes my cant look somewhat better than it actually was. It being a bit thin at the far end, and I had made a less than perfect job of pleaching one of the Field Maples, which together with a couple of stakes not as upright as they should have been meant lost marks. However I was generally happy with what I had done and you learn from your mistakes.
This next photo shows the stake line with Frank's cant beyond. He laid a great hedge and beat me into second place with Dave taking first.
Can't remember what the order was in the Seniors but in the Champions it was Gary, Tony and then Bob. Their section was on the corner - drier in some parts than others! Some nice work in there but the fence blocks the view.
And here we see Tony finishing off his masterpiece in what was a small pond.