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Wibbly Wobbly Yew Hedges at Montacute House

I took the opportunity to visit Montacute House gardens when travelling home through Somerset the other day because I wanted to see in person their beautiful yew hedges. Montacute House is magnificent – a fine example of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture. The gardens would have been a formal design, with yew hedges clipped to perfect straight lines, flat tops and precise right angle corners. Although the formal layout of the gardens remain, the yew hedges are now over 4 metres high, free-form, organic shapes and affectionally called the wibbly wobbly by the Montacute House gardeners. This style of yew hedge is…

Red Ants Damaging Box Hedging

I have another pest to add to the growing list of threats to a box plant’s health and well-being. This one is the red ant (Myrmica rubra). At a place where I work there had been a lot of head scratching trying to discover the reason why the leaves of single box plants were starting to yellow in a healthy, established box hedge. If it was nutrient deficiency or lack of watering then you would expect to see other box plants in the hedge displaying the same symptoms. The answer was explained by small mounds of loose, fine textured soil…

Leaf Motive Box Design with Parterres

I thought I would show you photos of one my clipping projects, to take a break from my slightly pessimistic pest and disease posts I have recently been sharing. I actually took these photos in May. The parterres currently have a less defined shape but lots of lovely new growth. This will start to slow down ready for the next clipping in September, to keep the design looking good all through winter. The new growth has been helped by favourable weather conditions and a new feeding regime of Topbuxus ‘Health Mix’ every 4-6 weeks. The Topbuxus encourages strong, healthy new…

Mysterious Brown Circles Appearing on Box Hedging

I wanted to share with you a problem someone was having with their box hedging that surrounds a lawn area. Brown circular patches were appearing on the grass side of the hedge and were all at roughly the same height. The owner’s Labrador was being accused of causing the damage so I was pleased to be able to exonerate the dog of all blame. The problem is a result of the hot exhaust on a lawnmower. This is not normally an issue if the gardener keeps moving along the hedge when cutting the grass. The damage is done when the…

Adult Mussel Scale on Box

Mussel Scale on Box

Mussel scale is a small insect that attaches itself to the stems of a box plant and sucks the sap. This can cause the foliage to discolour, turning yellow and orange. If the scale are left untreated the box may start to lose leaves and will have poor growth in the Spring. Have a close look at the stems of the box to see the adult mussel scales. The insect is tiny, only about 3mm long and is protected under a shell or scale that resembles the shape of the mussel mollusc. Treatment with an insecticide spray can be difficult…