Linking a Garden with Doorways in Hedges

Recently I have become mildly obsessed with doorways cut into hedges. I think they are a wonderful way for large gardens to link different areas. Too often hedges are seen as static features, acting as a barrier to divide one area from another. By cutting a doorway the hedge’s purpose changes and becomes an integral part of the garden design, linking rather than preventing access. And there is also something ‘Alice in Wonderland’ about them, appealing to our human nature to explore. I am lucky by living in the Cotswolds to have two gardens nearby that utilise hedge doorways with…

Beat Box Blight with Curved Tops on Box Hedging

I have noticed box blight affects the top part of hedges and topiary more than the base. The top is where the fungal infection seems to thrive, causing the most defoliation and stem damage. My approach with box blight infections is to treat the hedge twice a year with a commercial grade fungicide and encourage the gardener or homeowner to adopt good gardening practices such as watering from the base, regularly sterilising clipping tools and clearing up as much fallen box leaf litter as possible. So far this approach has had good success. The fungicide helps stop the infection getting…

Restoring Old Yew Topiary

As I was working in Dorset the other weekend, I took the opportunity to visit the beautiful Mapperton House gardens. Their ‘Pool Garden’ is lined with large, cone-shaped yew topiary. Some of the yew topiary has become misshapen over time and I was pleased to see the brave decision has been taken to restore a few to their original shape. This type of restoration is not for the faint hearted. It involves hard cutting the yew back into the old wood. The beauty of yew is that it will regrow from old wood. But this does take time. Probably two…

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…