Tuesday, March 19, 2013


There were boxwoods here since I knew this place. They used to march up each side of the front walk. There was a fire one year when the woods across the road burned and fire crossed over. We decided to take way those left unburned to make mowing across the front yard easier.

Last time I counted, there were more than 6 dozen Japanese boxwoods, some more than forty years old, some more recently rooted. Sometimes when I prune, I stick cuttings in the ground. Not all root. Those that do are sometimes ill placed.

The above picture from late February shows some Ill-placed boxwoods. The two at left center were too close together. To the right of them is one under an ornamental Pomegranate only a few inches from the trunk.

I spent the better part of the morning moving two 2-foot boxwoods, separating the too-close shrubs and moving the one behind the Punica out and to the north of it.

Here, one of the original Boxwoods on the left, the newly located one center and one on the right newly moved from beside the  one at far left. A new cross path will cut between the two at left.
A view from the opposite direction with three boxwoods. Punica is the taller shrub in the center with pale gold leaves, another between it and the tall magnolia at far right.
I did not point out the moving of various perennials and bulbs that were
also ill-placed. Several feet of edging remains to do.
Yet another view of the boxwood that moved from the Punica at right.
Punicas were here before I came. They bloom after the azaleas, pretty
orange and white striped blooms. Not popular in the nursery trade, but
historic plants. 
In the foreground ahead of the Pomegranate is a
tree rose devised from a Queen Elizabeth cutting. Almost seven feet tall,
the trunk is 44 inches tall with four stems growing above the stem.
After the first flush of bloom, I will cut it back severely. Initial late
winter pruning was only for shaping. The original rose bush finally
died, dating from the 1960s. This is the only cutting that survived,
now several years old.
I digressed from Boxwoods to talk about Punicas and Roses.
There is always pruning to be done here. The pets formed
a tunnel under these. At one time I pruned the top meatballs
into chicken shapes. Chickens required too much maintenance.

Most were already here, planted too close. I hack at them all winter,
stopping in summer wthen wasps start building nests and taking up again
when frost takes out the insects to which I am allergic. To entertain
myself, I cut them into shapes, not quite so ambitious as those at
public gardens maintained by professionals, but amusing to shape.
Not as popular as they once were, boxwood does add winter color and lend
themselves to informal gardens as well as to formal gardens where they are
kept clipped in geometric shapes.
What say you? Are you a fan of clipped hedges?


  1. I have several Boxwoods in my garden. The only ones I trim are along the front walk so I have to trim them. I leave the ones in the gardens alone. I think clipped hedges have their place...it all depends on the type of garden. You sure do a lot of "heavy labor". I think moving Boxwoods would be really hard work! I'd love to see one of you Boxwoods that you've trimmed into an animal shape....it might give me an idea!

  2. Boxwoods are shallow rooted and not as difficult as some things I've moved.

    You would think I might have the chicken pictures right at my fingertips. I can't even remember the name of the photo site where I might find one. It will come to me later, and when I have time, I'll look through some stored disks to see if a chicken turns up.

  3. I am a big fan of boxwoods, and a big fan of clipped hedges and topiaries. I don't have any topiaries yet - too chicken to try! ;)

  4. I love boxwood, topiary, and clipped hedges. I've been researching how and when to take cuttings of boxwood. I hope to have a really low clipped row out front near the sidewalk.

  5. I'm not a fan of tight clipping. Here in the suburbs you see lots of yews trimmed into meatballs - not a pretty sight. But I do appreciate a well-tended boxwood hedge...


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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