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Box Garden Designs

  1. Parterres & Knot Gardens
  2. Vegetable Gardens & Herb Gardens
  3. Evergreen Hedges
  4. Evergreen Topiary
  5. Patio Gardens
  6. Evergreen Shrubs

1. Parterres & Knot Gardens

Box plants clipped to form evergreen hedges or other geometric shapes are the essential part of many formal garden designs. Box parterres and knot gardens are at the heart of many classical gardens and modern formal gardens.

Dwarf box (buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa') is the classic plant for box parterres, especially where the ultimate evergreen hedge height is low. Common box (buxus sempervirens) is also often used in box parterres and box knot gardens, particularly where the plants are slightly taller.

Buxus sempervirens 'Chateau' is a compact, upright growing form of box which is very suitable for green evergreen box edging and parterres.

Other varieties of box with contrasting leaf colour and/or growth habit can be used for entertwined pattens. Blue leaved box (buxus sempervirens 'Blauer Heinz'), gold variegated box (buxus microphylla 'Golden Triumph'), silver variegated box (buxus sempervirens 'Elegans') and paler green leaved box (buxus microphylla 'Faulkner') all have similar growth habits to the darker green leaved buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa' and buxus sempervirens.

The framework of evergreen hedging can either be surrounded by gravel, or a similar inert ground covering, or be interplanted with flowers, vegetables or herbs.

Evergreen box or yew topiary plants can also be combined with the evergreen box hedging, to provide more varied architectural evergreen forms.

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2. Vegetable & Herb Gardens

Evergreen box hedging provides structure and definition for a vegetable garden or potager, or for a herb garden. The box can either be planted as edging around the vegetable beds, or can be used to subdivide as well as border the beds.

Either common box (buxus sempervirens) or dwarf box (buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa') can be used as evergreen hedging for this purpose. Dwarf box is generally used for particularly low evergreen hedges, and common box for slightly taller hedging.

Buxus sempervirens 'Chateau' is compact and upright growing - more dwarf than common box, but not as compact as buxus sempevirens 'Suffruticosa'.

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3. Evergreen Hedges

Common box (buxus sempervirens) is an excellent evergreen hedging plant for low and medium height formal evergreen hedges. Common box can also be used for taller hedges up to 2 or 3 metres tall, although it takes several years for the plants to attain these heights.

Faster growing hedging varieties include the tall and narrow buxus sempervirens 'Raket' or the more bushy faster growing buxus sempervirens 'Rotundifolia'.

As well as the low evergreen hedges in box parterres and knot gardens, box hedges can also be used for or take the form of boundary hedges, mazes, cloud hedges or hedges bordering shrubberies, buildings or garden walls.

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4. Evergreen Topiary

Box plants grow well in shade or sun, thrive in containers and can be clipped to form dense evergreen topiary, so box is widely used for evergreen topiary, especially geometric shapes such as balls, spirals, standards, pyramids, cones and cubes.

Most dark green evergreen box topiary is common box (buxus sempervirens), although nearly all box species and varieties make good topiary plants. Buxus sempervirens 'Elegans' (silver variegated leaves), buxus sempervirens 'Rotundifolia' (large leaves) and buxus microphylla var. japonica 'Faulkner' (bright green leaves) are also quite often sold as topiary shapes.

Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa' and other dwarf box plants, such as buxus 'Green Gem' and buxus 'Green Velvet' are suitable for forming compact smaller shapes, especially box balls. Buxus microphylla 'Herrenhausen', which has even smaller leaves, is available as clipped balls.

Box topiary plants are often grown in groups of different forms, such as cones and balls, or the same shape in the same or different sizes. Also shapes such as cones or balls can be grown in lines, similar to hedges, or as focal points at the corners and/or within conventional clipped box hedges.

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5. Patio Gardens

Since box thrives in sun or shade, grows well in containers, and forms compact evergreen shapes, it is very suitable for patio gardens.

Low box hedges and topiary can be grown in the ground, or in planters and/or troughs as required.

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6. Evergreen Shrubs

Box plants grow wild under deciduous trees and in full sun. So all the different varieties of box will grow in sun or shade in mixed plantings with trees, shrubs and flowers.

Box is particularly suitable as an underplanting in deciduous woodland.

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