box deer damage

Oh Deer – What’s Happened to the Box Topiary

I’m bit of a perfectionist when it comes to topiary and enjoy achieving beautiful curves and straight lines with my work. I thought I had nearly achieved this with one of the designs I clip every year. The box has always battled with blight outbreaks so it was a challenge. But with the support of the excellent on-site gardening team, who have been treating the blight and feeding the box, there was enough healthy growth to create some satisfying curves and straight lines. Sadly the local wildlife don’t seem to share my love of topiary. Every time I return to…

box blight

Managing Box Blight Outbreaks with a Fungicide

Autumn this year has been very wet and warm here in the UK. These are perfect conditions for fungal growth and outbreaks of box blight have been very common. Outbreaks can occur on the top or sides of the box and are identifiable by the browning and blackening of the foliage. These outbreaks occur almost overnight. The damage caused can be minimised if treated early so best to check box plants regularly. I spray a fungicide on to an affected area as soon as I see the first signs of a box blight outbreak. Hopefully this will slow the spread…

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…