Supporting Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ with Box Hedging

Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ is a beautiful shrub. Large white balls of flowers on long stems from the end of July and into August. But this variety of hydrangea has a reputation for flopping due to the size of the flower heads. Wire supports help but they don’t look great. A natural support is box hedging. I was inspired by the photos of Gina’s garden on Instagram to plant Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ in a front garden that has borders edged with tall box hedging. Two years on, the hydrangeas have established and look stunning. Billowing clouds of white flowers contrast beautifully with the…

Mature Beech Topiary with Personality

I use the social media network Instagram to share photos of my work. I enjoy the feedback and interaction with other topiary enthusiasts from all over the world. Photos of a project that always have a good response is six mature standard beech balls. They form a visual barrier between a garden and the neighbouring paddock. The history of the beech balls is not fully known. The beech trees existed when the current garden owner purchased the property 30 years ago. I would guess the intention was to create a pleached beech hedge. But the creative flair of the current…

box blight

Fungicides And Good Gardening Practices Are Ways To Beat Box Blight

One of my services is fungicide treatments for the disease called box blight. The fungal disease attacks Box (Buxus sempervirens) and can result in large, twiggy bare patches and dieback. Box blight was first recognised in the mid 1990’s and has now become a real problem in many gardens all over the UK, especially with the warm and damp weather. If you suspect box blight in your garden then please feel free to contact me for advice or to discuss our fungicide treatments to help prevent the disease. So what is Box Blight? Box blight is a fungal disease that…

Be Ready for the Box Tree Moth in 2018

Reports of box tree caterpillar damage were on the increase in 2017, mostly in the South East of England and London Thankfully the risk is still very small where I’m living in the Cotswolds. But I feel it is just a matter of time before for the box tree moths start to travel West. The Box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) is native to East Asia and became established in the UK in 2011. Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire has the unfortunate label of being the location of the invasion after a local took a caterpillar to the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show to…

Success with a Stubborn Wisteria

Nothing more satisfying as a gardener than having success with a plant that is being awkward. These two wisteria had stopped flowering and the owner was contemplating cutting them down. The wisterias had flowered in the past so there wasn’t a defect with the plants. I gave them a hard prune so all the wisterias energy was directed into fattening up the flower buds. I also gave them a good feed with a slow fertiliser and made sure they were well watered. Thankfully this spring we have been treated to a magnificent display. Now the challenge is to keep the…

The Fashion for Cloud Pruned Yew Hedges

If you follow this blog or my social media profiles you may have noticed I am building a small collection of vintage gardening books. This is not intentional. I find it difficult to resist when I see an interesting antique gardening book on an online auction site and my low bids seem to be winning. One lucky acquisition was this 1904 First Edition ‘Some English Gardens’ with beautiful prints of watercolours by George S. Elgood and commentary by Gertrude Jekyll. One print that caught my eye was a watercolour titled ‘Yew Alley at Rockingham’ and painted about 1900. The yew…

Planting a new box parterre

Work on the new parterre is continuing well. The site was cleared last autumn of all the existing planting and shrubs. I had to remove two large Spirea, which was a shame but they did not fit in with the formal look I am trying to achieve in this area. I have now planted a large, square box parterre with a small, square box parterre in the centre around the sculpture of the contemplative boy. Fortunately I had four 25cm box balls left over from another planting job in the garden so I’ve used these on the corners on the…