The traditional oblong garden hedge with straight, neat lines is, of course, a form of topiary and it is therefore no surprise that Buxus Sempervirens (the Common Box) is so often used in this way. Box’s attractive, soft, tight, summer growth will form a full dark green evergreen garden hedge over time and is easy to keep to its desired height and shape. Left to its own devices, it will eventually grow to 0.5-1.5m. It is a perfect alternative to privet, especially for those who don’t enjoy the distinctive fragrance of privet in flower. It will also grow in tubs and containers and is an ideal plant for anyone wanting to have a go themselves at more advanced topiary.
Common Box At-A-Glance
Foliage Type: Evergreen
Ease of maintenance: ✯✯✯✯✯
Soil type: Acid or Alkaline
Preferred situation: Sun or Partial Shade
Growth Rate: Slow
Maintenance: Prune Box plants up to twice a year to retain their shape during the growing season – but avoid pruning in full sunlight as the cut stems will brown. Once the desired height has been achieved, prune annually to maintain
Versatility: Common Box is at its best as a hedge but can be kept in a tub or container.
And Finally: Box Hill in Surrey takes its name from the proliferation of wild box woodland that has dominated the steep, west-facing chalk slopes of the hill since at least the C.12th. Box Hill lies within both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, offering homes to 40 species of butterfly. Around 850,000 people visit Box Hill every year – more in 2012 as it was a prominent part of the route for the Olympic road cycling races.