Thursday, July 9, 2015

To Trim or Not to Trim?

Bitsy the cat peaking under the Boxwood bush.
Seldom do I see a boxwood hedge outside public gardens.  I suspect it's for two reasons:


  1. They're more formal than most gardens now days.
  2. They're a lot of work to keep them trimmed.  

Boxwood hedge trimmed to perfection
Large commercial or public gardens typically have garden staff to keep the many rows of clipped boxwood or individual boxwood sculptures always perfect.  And, a boxwood MUST be perfectly trimmed all the time to achieve the desired look.

I've ratcheted my boxwood expectations down a whole lot.  I have one boxwood bush.  Since my gardens are what I've often termed a "willy nilly" planting style - or - when I want to pretend I have a little savvy "English garden" style.  Either description means plants are not in any way formally arranged.  My husband will testify as he has to turn and dodge when mowing.

And then - - - I bought a boxwood and planted in my willy nilly fashion in a large informal area filled with daylilies, ornamental grasses, roses, other perennials, some small trees and bushes.  


That round ball on the left is the Boxwood under
the 2013 mega snow.
Fortunately I realized the potential to have one very formal bush within this garden and I like the contrast.  The round orb is a perfect contrast to the wild array of other plants.

Boxwood, Buxus sempervirens, is an evergreen.  It hold it leaves and color all winter.  In the spring, it sends up new lime green growth which is kept trimmed all summer.  Once it's in the shape you desire, it cannot be sheared heavily because it won't sprout from the heavy stems.   

Boxwood is an old ornamental garden plant traced to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.  It's deer resistant.  The tiny spring flowers are petal free and attract bees with it's sweet fragrance.  

It has shallow surface roots and doesn't like other plants interfering with that growth.  It may send up suckers from these roots but they can be cut off when it's trimmed.  


Boxwood bush in the near center right of the birdbath.
Plant in full sun.  I've only had winter kill one time; a few years back when we had that horribly cold windy winter.  The kill was only on the top.  I left it alone until it had again sent up new shoots that eventually filled in the space.  

It's emerald green leaves look beautiful in the winter, sharply contrasting with the snow.  I've enjoyed this bush for seventeen years in my garden and it's been stunning every year.  
Boxwood divider hedge trimmed like elephants.
If the idea of having 2,000 feet of hedge to trim or a large elephant shaped topiary is daunting, try one small Boxwood and keep it trimmed in an orb or other simple shape.  It's a fun addition and lasting addition.   
  
A boxwood sculpture that must represent the person
who has to trim this baby all summer.

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