Any book or magazine that I have read concerning shaping the box plant, Buxus, says to clip them back on Derby Day.Not being interested in horse racing, it took me a while to work out when this was, it appears that the Derby ( famous horse race in the UK ) is run on the first Saturday in June. The landed gentry would always go off to the races and leave instructions for their gardening staff to clip all the box while they were away, was this just to keep them busy or to stop them going and betting on the race !
Anyway, not being landed gentry or having hoards of gardeners to clip the box for me, I just cut it when I think it needs doing, when it looks a bit shaggy.
All mine are various forms of Buxus sempervirens, which grows larger than B. Suffruticosa, and so far have not suffered from box blight, thank goodness. This cone is the golden leaved variety and is certainly ready for its hair cut.
Should I leave it like this – maybe not ! Underneath it is dark green and will take a while to turn golden again. The old sheet is there so that the clippings can just be lifted and taken to the compost, no tidying up to do !!
All done now, I prefer it when it is golden but will just have to wait until it returns to its former glory.
In the mean time it does a good job of forming a full stop at the end of the border, and it contrasts beautifully with Stipa gigantea next to it, the solidity of the box next to the open airiness of the grass.
Please say you can tell which plant I have done, these plants are the variegated form, given to me years ago as tiny cuttings by my friend Jill. A few more cuttings were given to me years later, these are planted down the front drive, but at the moment are more “tufts” than balls, these just need shaping with secateurs, won’t be ready for the shears for a few more years.
The box balls in the front garden where the roses are, are clipped by Hamish, who helps in the garden, and he makes such a good job of doing them, he now has a job for life ! They are so solid now, I could almost sit on them.
Soon they will be almost hidden by the roses arching over them, but they come into their own from November for the next 6 months. Everything else is cut back in this area for the winter and the box balls are what we see from the kitchen window.
They only need cutting once a year normally, but having done them early this year because of our hot spell, then maybe they might need a slight trim later in the year. I do like a bit of formality in the garden with everything else billowing with happy abandonment as a contrast, do you agree ?