Another Boxwood Please…

Want to start your garden design? Begin with the boxwood. People are often surprised that I have hundreds that surround my home. One might think with all these boxwood I would have a garden as far as the eye can see, but in fact, it’s less than a quarter acre. Needless to say, for its official “size” it is loaded with boxwood which anchor the entire property. They are, for me, the foundation of any four season garden. The classic boxwood (Buxux) is an excellent shrub that can be used in many different ways. Often used as a border, boxwood add an evergreen pop to a formal or casual garden, making it come to life even in the dead of winter.

So how can one begin planning a garden using this beautiful hardy shrub? Not to worry, Mar is here! Let us begin: First and foremost, one does not need to overpay for them. Visit your local garden center for the best prices. Late fall is a great time to negotiate with the nurseries as most will be 40-75 percent off, but trust me you can do even better if you ask.

Assuming you have found boxwood, now is one or two enough? Heck no, but it is a great way to start. Just like people build their relationship by giving them lots of company, your boxwood respond to the same thing: boxwood company, that is. The more the merrier. The idea here is to begin with something that provides balance and interest, then add color and texture as you build your garden. I find it hard to walk away from well-priced boxwood and if it is a topiary shape then I’m in real trouble. That said, the boxwood could very well be your first step/investment to your garden design. Dwarf boxwood are excellent for a small hedge, while large boxwood are perfect for balancing a doorway or scattered throughout the garden.

My garden is filled with color and details throughout. I simply began with 20 two gallon boxwood filling my car and by making several trips as I refuse to pay the delivery charge. If you should be so lucky to have a friend with a truck, borrow the truck! But do the right thing: take it to the car wash when you are done — better yet wash it yourself for extra credit. I’ve been doing this for a long time, otherwise my “truck friends” seem to disappear when they hear I’m doing some gardening.

My collection continues to grow and now also includes planters that I winter over in the studio, but just like you I began with a plan of action to have a fabulous garden anchored by the boxwood. I knew that this would only be the beginning as my affair with the boxwood continues today. I buy the boxwood for their lush dense green leaves but even better I enjoy the fact that the deer won’t eat them. Yeah! Good for you, good for me, and even better for people that have deer issues.

A special note “Ò if you find that your boxwood needs to be pruned several times within the season in order to keep its size appropriate for the space, you should probably move it or replaced it with a smaller variety. Boxwood can be selected to grow anywhere from two to fifteen feet, so simply ask before you purchase. Getting the right one for your garden will ease the maintenance process. Choose your boxwood carefully understanding their particular growth habits and any space restrictions you may have. When in doubt, read the label!

But don’t clip too early! If your boxwood are immature and still growing into their maximum height, you will want to let the new growth remain for a year or two so that it gets established before you introduce it to the hedge clippers.

The constant beauty of the boxwood reminds me that no matter what time of year it is they are there for me. Today my investment has literally grown — they have reach sizes that I could never afford to buy as new. Everyone is greeted by my large, almost-endless collection, and most comment on just how amazing they are. Don’t be afraid to start small; in time you, too, can have the same.

And there you have it.