Cherry laurel is a very common hedging plant for good reason. It will grow in almost any conditions and produces a thick, evergreen hedge in very quick time.

Unlike a lot of plants it will thrive in full sun and full shade. Apart from the most waterlogged of soils, it will also tolerate the majority of soil conditions as well.

They put on most of their growth in the spring so one cut at the end of the spring should be enough, however, I usually do an extra one in autumn to keep them looking good through the winter.

They are also very effective at blocking out noise pollution so are popular if you are close to a main road or have noisy neighbours. Their glossy leaves can even reflect some sunlight onto the rest of your garden.

There are some negative aspects to laurel. If they are not trimmed regularly then they can get way out of control. They will cease to become hedge and turn into a row of trees within a few years and can easily reach 10 metres tall.

Anyone that has cut a cherry laurel will have notices that the crushed leaves smell of almonds, this is because they contain cyanide. This is not a problem if you are just cutting them outside and are not eating them but could make you unwell if you then have to fill your car up with the cuttings and drive them to the tip.

Having done a lot of work on nature reserves in my previous job, I know first hand that laurel can cause problems for native wildlife. Their ability to grow in thick shade means that they can out compete a lot of native species if they manage to establish outside of the garden. They offer very little benefits for the native wildlife.

In conclusion, as a quick growing, thick, evergreen hedge, you will find no better that the cherry laurel but personally, I would choose something that offers a bit more to the native wildlife in my garden.