The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Monday, July 26, 2010

Boxwood Trimming Time

The Hall With Balls
2 Boxwoods to the left of the Cornus officinalis already Trimmed
19 More to Go!

The boxwoods are beginning to look like Don King on a bad hair day. I begin clipping them around the 4th of July and try to finish by the end of the month. There are 37 round boxwoods in my garden; 21 of them are in the Hall with Balls. I like them to be tight rounds. That way, the fluff in the perennial borders is contrasted to the best possible effect.

The Hall with Balls has box under planted with, the native pachysandra, Pachysandra procumbens, also known as Allegheny surge. I was surprised to learn it is also a member of the boxwood family. As the ground cover has filled in I have received many compliments on the simple beauty of the combination. I think of it as moment to cleanse the palate as you leave the upper hot borders and enter the lower pastel and gray borders off the terrace.


  1. Dear Michael, Perhaps more than anything I am struck here by your observation that the Hall of Balls is a contrast to, and a quiet contrast at that,to the upper hot border. Would that more gardeners realised the importance of such changes of tempo and mood and that it is not, whatever may be thought, desirable to have all areas singing and dancing all of the time.

    The combination of Buxus and Pachysandra is indeed most successful. Beautiful simplicity. Somewhat surprisingly Pachysandra is not widely grown in the UK; for me P. terminalis is one of the best forms of ground cover [not, I hasten to add, used as in a supermarket car park where it might be employed to cover acres of bare soil!].

  2. Michael,
    Thanks for the reminder. Mine have been calling for haircuts but with the summer heat, and competing chores, I've delayed. Need a kick in the pants.

  3. Edith,
    Thanks for your comment. The more good gardens I visit, the more I understand the importance of giving the eye and the brain a rest when traveling through the garden. The pachysandra has the unexpected benefit of decreasing the clean up time. After I clip the box, I simply tousle the heads of the pachysandra and the trimmings vanish and become organic supplement t to the soil.

    Great to hear from you. Sorry to add to your list but you will be rewarded when you have job completed! Hope things are beginning to cool off down there. I took a short hike this morning and it was a very comfortable 54 degrees.

  4. What a treat to read your post today! I use boxwood trimming as "garden therapy" when I'm getting too crazed from the heat and colors of the summer garden...and I also love being able to trim the boxwoods, then ruffle the underplants to hide the cuttings!

    Though I garden in the south now, my assistant and I are both from the Northeast originally. We were walking through the garden earlier today commenting on how delightfully calm the combination of boxwood, pachysandra and yew can be in any season. Even when needing a haircut, the combination is quietly elegant.

    Enjoy the rest of the haircutting!

  5. Tim,

    Thanks for your kind comment. The instant gratification of trimming the box is very satisfying and long-lasting. I still have some therapy left!



Related Posts with Thumbnails