Is there a more elegant shrub than boxwood (Buxus)? I don’t think so. Evergreen and tolerant of all kinds of “shape-shifting,” it is the ideal plant to edge a pathway, or to frame a garden bed or border. Despite its beauty this box, however, has one major drawback: it is very expensive. But you can have a sophisticated boxwood hedge without breaking the bank. My own ribbons of enduring green, pictured above, are living proof of this fact.
When I made my rose garden in the spring of 2005, I could afford but enough boxwood to roughly outline the geometric beds there. To fill in between plants, I took cuttings from my purchased stock, and rooted these directly in the ground. You can do this, too:
In spring, take stem cuttings, 6 inches in length, and remove the lower inch of leaves. Group 5-7 stems together to resemble an entire plant, and plunge them directly into the prepared bed. By “prepared bed,” I mean soil that has been newly-loosened, and amended with leaf mold or compost. Pack the soil firmly around the stems. Keep the cuttings moist, and you will have new, rooted plants in about six week’s time.
Plant boxwood cuttings in groups of 5-7 stems
Incidentally, starting a boxwood garden from cuttings is nothing new. The famous antebellum box-garden at Valley View, near Carterville, Georgia, was started by the owner’s wife in the 1840s. She planted there cuttings obtained from her old family home in South Carolina. This habit of passing boxwood from one generation to the next is a pleasant tradition that we should revisit today.
My garden is planted with Buxus ‘Winter Gem,’ which does not require a burlap cloak in wintertime. ‘Green Mountain’ and ‘Green Velvet’ are also hardy, at least to zone 5, and so is the true English dwarf boxwood, B. sempervirens suffruticosa.
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