In the end, you must make a decision with which you are comfortable. But, I would advise basing that decision on clear objective thinking – and I hope these last few posts have helped.
Talk to your neighbours, especially any whose garden borders yours. If they have Box Blight, it’s probably best not to take the risk. But if Box is growing healthily locally, then it’s far less of a gamble. In any case, there are few plants that don’t have associated pests and diseases – and some are far more virulent and destructive than Box Blight. Gardening is a gamble or rather, it is a constant challenge to lengthen the odds in our favour.
• We may have inadvertently given the impression that keeping Box Blight out of your garden is particularly labour intensive, but that is only because we have been focussing in some detail on the disease. The reality is that looking after Box requires no more effort – probably less – than, say, maintaining a prized Rose bush that will be under constant threat from, to name but a few: brown scale, aphids, leaf-rolling sawfly, rose sickness, dieback, powdery mildew, blackspot and rust. And how many owners of a well-loved Hosta bed don’t check for slugs on a daily basis?
• We have seen that effective fungicidal treatments are in development (even if the time-frame is unknown) and that if the worse does happen, prompt, remedial action can still save the day
• Finally, you may be thinking that as we grow Box, we have a vested interest in defending it. But the truth is that if people don’t buy Box, they will buy an alternative that will almost certainly cost more – Box remains one of the most affordable of all hedging plants. So, if our response to Box Blight was commercially driven, we’d be telling everyone to dig it up and plant Yew instead!
Obviously, the threat of Box Blight neither can nor should be ignored, but I hope we have shown that this does not mean that Box itself must be cast aside. It is far too soon to give up on Buxus Sempervirens – it is, after all, one our few native evergreens and remains a fundamental element of the English garden.