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You are in: Northumbria Police: Crime Prevention: Home and property

Security starts at the Garden Gate

Home-grown security

11/08/2008

Your garden should mark your first line of defence, and it can be turned into a minefield of home-grown hazards for would-be thieves while presenting all the charm of nature's beauty to the welcome visitor.

Home-grown security can be used as an attractive physical barrier around perimeters, under windows and at the base of drainpipes.

This section helps you to create areas of prickly planting, which, while attractive to the eye, form a visual deterrent and are painfully unpleasant at closer range.

The following is a list of suitable plants, which are readily available from garden centres and nurseries.

Pyracantha
These vigorous shrubs have vicious thorns which are excellent subjects to be grown up a trellis or against a wall. All have white flowers in spring and each variety is characterised by the colour and size of its berries.

Height - 2.5 metres
Spread - 1.5 metres

Berberis
Nearly all berberis are very thorny while some like Berberis darwinii and Berberis x stenophylla are evergreen. Berberis julianae is very big and thorny. These are best planted as a hedge or as specimen shrubs where there is a gap.

Rubus
The rubuses are from the blackberry family and many species have long hooked thorns. You could grow the fruiting blackberry, ' Himalayan Giant', to protect your home. The 'parsley' leafed blackberry is both attractive and thorny, of a manageable size and may be grown up a trellis.

Gorse
It grows to form an impenetrable barrier, and the double flowered gorse - Ulex Flore Pleno - makes a fantastic show in the spring. It needs full sun and should be cut back a little each year as it tends to become straggly.

Rosa rugosa Blanc Double de Coubert
A white rose with red hips which prefers sun or partial shade.

Height - 1 metre
Spread - just under 1 metre

Rosa omeiensis
Small white or yellow flowers in spring with massive thorns. Ideal for planting against a wall or fence or in rough hedge.

Height - 4 metres
Spread - 4 metres

Holly
Choose a variety that is prickly, like Ilex aquifolium Argentea Marginata, which is variegated and has berries in winter. Holly may be trained as a hedge or planted near the house.

Rosa Max Graf
A modern, low growing rose with pink flowers throughout the summer, mostly evergreen.

Height - 4 metres
Spread - 1 metre

Rosa Red Bells
A modern rose with red flowers throughout the summer, mostly evergreen.

Height - up to 1 metre
Spread - about 1 metre

Gooseberry
Don't forget that several fruit bushes are prickly. Espalier gooseberries grown against a sunny wall will act as a deterrent while providing you with a useful crop.

Chaenomeles
Commonly known as the Japanese Quince, there are many varieties of this plant and all of them are thorny. They are traditionally planted against a wall where they will flower in spring before the leaves come out.

Height - 1 metre
Spread - 2 metres

(Plant list compiled with the assistance of Durham University Botanical Gardens)

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