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Hedge Britannia, By Hugh Barker


A quirky idea, brilliantly realised, though you should hang on to your hedge fund unless you're tantalised by billhooks, pleachers and binders, styles of regional hedging and the psychology of topiary.

Though enlivened by deviations, like Barker's panicky departure when caught trespassing in a topiary garden, this is a serious study of hedges from Homer onwards.

Proud owners should be warned that, just as John Evelyn's holly hedge was ruined by Peter the Great in a wheelbarrow, "hedge diving is a popular sport… with a certain kind of drunken teenager".