Simple Plastic Bag Test to Diagnose Box Blight

Correct diagnosis of box blight is important in order to know how to respond to this potentially devastating disease. Box blight can be treated with a combination of fungicides and improvements in gardening practices if diagnosed quickly before the infection has spread. Symptoms of box blight include browning of the leaves and patches of defoliation. Black streaks maybe visible on the stems and small white spores on the underside of the leaves. Discoloration of box leaves and defoliation could also be the result of nutrient deficiency. This is why a correct diagnosis is important as the box plants may just…

Box Beehives in the Cotswolds

I visit a private residence in the Cotswolds every year to trim their box topiary, which includes a wonderful geometric design of large box beehives on the main lawn. Really simple but very effective at breaking up a large area of green grass. Also adds perspective to the garden and frames the stunning countryside view when looking out from the house. I’m not sure of the specific variety of box but it is a tougher type with leaves and stems thicker than common Buxus sempervirens. This helps the large box beehives to hold their shape, even with adverse weather conditions…

Box and Yew Topiary in a Beautifully Designed London Garden

This year I enjoyed trimming and shaping box balls, box domes, cloud pruned ilex crenata and yew squares in a lovey, urban garden in Notting Hill, London. The garden was cleverly designed by Butter Wakefield, to make the most of a small, lightly shaded space. Overhanging trees and a stunning multi stem Betula nigra (River Birch) create wonderful dappled light under which the topiary thrives. I also shaped the Viburnum tinus hedging at the end of the garden with curves and undulations to create a simple cloud pruned design that links the space with communal gardens beyond. Herbaceous perennials and…

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…

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…