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Buxus sempervirens

You cannot beat a simple plant like the common box for structure in the garden at this time of year. Whether grown in a pot, as a parterre hedge or as a living sculpture in the open ground, it really comes into its own now. When encrusted with frost, as in the photograph, it looks even more appealing. It is usually fully hardy and will grow in fertile well drained soil. Grow in partial shade to ensure the richest green in the foliage. If grown in full sun, it can begin to look limey or even brassy in colour. The traditional time for pruning is after Derby day in June. Use some of the pruning material for cuttings. Use semi-ripe pieces i.e. the bits that are neither soft, green growth nor hard wood, but that are mid way between the two but still pliable and keep in pots in a shaded spot. By the following year they will be suitable for potting on.

Copyright A Walsh 2002-2007