I was intrigued with what looked like a “floating lantern”, only to discover it was sitting on a brick pier.
The original landscaper was undoubtedly satisfying the request of the homeowner to plant simple, formal plantings. Simple can be very elegant in design when it’s done right. With landscape plantings that are well-chosen, well-spaced, and well-cared for, simple can be elegant and beautiful.
Sometimes It’s Just Choosing the Right Variety
So you have the idea for a boxwood hedge around the brick pier and it’s a good one…nice and simple. You picture this well groomed, boxwood hedge complementing the pier and helping soften its structural lines. It’s off to the nursery you go. There you find these nice, glossy leaved boxwood in 3 gal. pots. Each plant is about 18″ high. “Perfect!” you say. Arranged and installed around the pier, you stand back and admire your work.
Now as each season goes by you’re shearing them for that formal look the homeowner loves, but it’s suddenly dawning on you that these things are getting bigger and bigger in spite of your diligent shearing.
The problem: You’ve chosen a variety of boxwood that characteristically (it’s in its DNA) wants to get bigger than you planned. And it will. And if you say “No it won’t, I’ll just shear the hell out of it and keep cutting it back,” the plant will gradually decline and look horrible.
The solution: There are many types of boxwood out there and each has its own story and characteristics. You need to check some of this information out if you’re going to make a smart and long-lasting selection.
To the right is Dwarf Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’). This plant will stay far more compact than the variety above, which I’m quite sure is Boxwood ‘Winter Gem’. Also the growth habit of Dwarf Boxwood is proportionately narrower to its height, whereas ‘Wintergem’ gets as wide as it is tall.
Even if your designs are simple and your plant selections are not diverse it’s OK. Just make those few selections carefully and your plantings will develop into that beautiful, original vision you had.