The hip parade: Anna Pavord is devoting a wild section of her garden to some very fruity numbers

The "hippery" happened by accident, rather than design. At the top of the bank there's a largeish area drifting back from a curving path to finish at the eastern edge of the garden. The boundary is a wild one – holly, elder, thorn, hazel – with a view to rough sloping pastures beyond. I never meant to take in as much garden as we have, but once started it was difficult to stop. Common sense finally prevailed and I realised it was sensible to leave this last bit as the handshake between cultivated and wild, a transition between garden and landscape, cared for but not too much.

The idea of making this area into an autumn place came from one magnificent old tree standing close to the back boundary, a cockspur thorn (Crataegus crus-galli). This is an American thorn, not a British native, but it fits into a wild setting as easily as our hawthorn. The leaves are bigger though. Glossier too, and rounded, colouring beautifully in autumn in blazing shades of red and orange. Between the splayed-out clusters of leaves are bunches of red haws, again, bigger than the hawthorn's, rounded and a brilliant orange-red.

The champion cockspur thorn, as recorded in Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland (Whittet Books, £25) is 7.5m tall and 45cm round the trunk. I can't estimate the height of ours, but it stretches about 17m along the boundary fence, with branches drooping to the ground. The trunk measures 117cm round. So it is a dominant and fortunately very beautiful gift to this part of the garden, carpeted in the tent made by its dropping branches with ivy, primroses and wild garlic.

The first addition to this area was another thorn, Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia', very similar to the cockspur and which I thought could take over from it if there should be a disaster. Like the cockspur thorn, it will eventually be wider than it is high, and blooms at the same time in June, with clusters of white flowers. The next addition was a group of three roses (Rosa moyesii 'Geranium'), chosen for their hips, lovely flagon-shaped things, bright red, and rather more important in this context than the single flowers, which are like deep-red dog roses.

Then the hippery idea began to take root. I would put things in this wild area, but I'd only use plants that had good fruit and which, themselves, also looked wild. Rosa moyesii passed this test. Rugosa roses didn't, even though some of them have spectacular fruit. So my next addition to the rose patch (definitely not a bed) was something I'd never heard of until I read about it in Charles Quest-Ritson's Encyclopaedia of Roses (Dorling Kindersley, £25).

It's 'Eddie's Jewel', bred in the US in 1962, with R. moyesii as one of its parents. With us, it has become a taller, rangier thing than 'Geranium' and this year, it fruited for the first time. The hips are not as profuse as the ones on 'Geranium' but they are much bigger – fat, globose things in a bright orange kind of red. They seem to be lasting very well.

Now, I'm hip mad. Well, fruit mad would be more truthful, because the next two things I put up there among the ivy and the primroses were both spindles. Another sub-theme seemed to be emerging: that I would plant things that had some native equivalent. Our wild spindle is a pretty tree, favouring chalk landscapes and producing, with its pink-coloured autumn leaves, outrageous fruit in a Seventies mix of orange and bright lipstick-pink.

Most spindles fruit well and the two I chose (Euonymus planipes and E. latifolius) are very similar with long, pointed buds breaking out into the greenish flowers (not conspicuous) that produce the astounding fruit. E. latifolius hasn't yet had a chance to produce any. The tree was barked shortly after I planted it, at the beginning of this year. Fortunately, the damage occurred about half way up the stem, not at the bottom. When the top died back, I cut it off, but the bottom half continues to grow.

E. planipes, planted the previous year, has bigger fruit than our native spindle, but made in the same extraordinary way. They hang on long stalks in little clusters, each one made up of four sections like the overstuffed segments of a pumpkin. When these bright pink-red cases split, they show the brilliant orange seed covering inside. This particular species comes from north-eastern China and the far east of Russia, but it's a widespread group, tough and easy.

Once the hippery theme was set, I kept my eyes peeled for anything that looked good at this autumnal time of the year, but nothing too gardenesque. A crab apple here. Another thorn there. No rowans, as we've four in other parts of the garden. As for underplanting, I've added very little. I'm hoping the ivy will gradually creep down from the top part of this plot and suppress the creeping buttercup that is still a nuisance. So is willowherb. I love it in Scotland and wouldn't mind it in this wild bit of our garden if only it didn't send its feathery seeds everywhere else as well.

So this area is by no means maintenance-free. This year, I've been tracking bindweed, which got in among the roses. The most effective method here, where the wretched stuff was reaching for the spreading branches of the roses, has been to train the bindweed up bamboo canes. In the second half of summer it makes a spectacular amount of growth.

Training it on canes keeps it out of the way of the things you don't want to blast with spray. When the bindweed stems start tumbling off the top of the canes, you bundle them into a polythene bag, spray them liberally with Roundup, then tie the bag to the top of the cane. Gradually, the poison works its way down the stems to the roots. And you have not touched anything precious with the herbicide.

There's no shortage of trees and shrubs with good fruit: the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), the snowdrop tree (Halesia carolina), holly (but there are plenty of those in the boundary hedge), sorbus such as beautiful 'Joseph Rock' with orange-yellow berries, more roses such as R. davidii from China with scarlet, flagon-shaped hips. No. The difficulty is not candidates, but space. I'm eyeing up the field.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?