Lush green clipped box hedges are part and parcel of many formal garden landscapes. They create defined shapes and patterns for years on end, lending an ordered look to the garden. The spaces created or defined by these boxed hedges can be planted in a formal pattern or else in a more relaxed planting style depending on personal tastes. They can even be planted in herb and vegetable gardens to create some semblance of definition. As much as a more informal planting approach seems to be fashionable at present the “old fashioned” box hedge will remain very much in vogue.

The plant most commonly used for this purpose is Buxus sempervirens or Buxus microphylla which both have distinctive forms and cultivars based on leaf shape, size and growth habit. Some are quicker growing than other whilst some foliage is more lustrous and green. At present there are 3 or 4 different types of box plants on offer. They need to be planted out in trenches spaced 20 to 40 cm apart to create a reasonable low hedge in a year or two. The closer they are planted the sooner the desired effect will be achieved. Buxus are evergreen shrubs or small trees that originate from Europe and Asia. As such they’re cold hardy and grow well in our local conditions. Their small leaves and short internodes make them ideal subjects for clipping or shearing into hedges and other topiary shapes.

TIMELY TIP – cut off as little stem length as possible at each shearing. Prune less leaf and stem more often to have a well groomed box hedge.