Low hedges – a few alternatives to Box

0 Written by Lisa on 6th Oct 2015 in Plants

Box topiary and stone bench in Box, Wiltshire

You may or may not have heard that there’s been an outbreak of box tree caterpillar in London and some of the Home Counties. The caterpillars eat the leaves and produce webbing over their feeding area which can eventually cause the plants to die.

As you’re probably aware, Box (Buxus sempervirens) is also susceptible to box blight, a fungal disease which can also be devastating.

Box is such a useful plant in our gardens, especially where you want some formal structure. It can be clipped tightly into almost any shape and is pretty easy to grow so it’s difficult to imagine our gardens without it.

Hampton Court Palace Garden Lisa Cox

But over the past couple of years some of my clients have been nervous about spending money on box plants, especially if we’re using it for a formal hedge – so what alternatives are there? Here are a few options…

Ilex crenata

This is a really good alternative to Box as it looks very similar to Box and can be clipped in the same way. It’s not as drought tolerant as Box so this is something to bear in mind if you have well drained soil and it’s quite slow to grow so can be more expensive. It’s also available as topiary shapes including balls.


Lavender hedges at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Lavender makes a good low hedge too, although won’t have the formal feel of box when it’s in flower in the summer and does require full sun to grow well. Lavandula angfustifolia ‘Hidcote’ is a good variety and fully hardy in the UK climate. ‘Dwarf White’ is a good variety where space is an issue.

 Phillyrea angustifolia

Phillyrea angustifolia has small glossy green leaves and is sometimes used in Scandinavian parterres as it’s hardier than Box. It also produces tiny scented white flowers in summer and will grow up to 4ft if required.

Pittosporum tenuifolium

Fresh new growth of Pittosporum Tom Thumb

Pittosporum have small glossy evergreen leaves and can be clipped.  ‘Silver Magic’, ‘Tom Thumb’ and ‘Limelight’ are good dwarf varieties which can be kept small.

Lonicera nitida

Lonicera nitida will form a neat hedge up to 3ft tall but it’s vigorous and needs to be kept in check if you want that crisp look. Let it grow and it becomes a rather ugly, swiftly!

If you’re worried about your box plants, the RHS website is a good resource with information about how to recognise box tree caterpillar and box blight including details of how to treat and prevent them from spreading.

It’s bulb planting time!

0 Written by Lisa on 1st Oct 2015 in Design Tips, Plants

Golden narcissus at RHS Garden Wisley Lisa Cox

I’ve just returned from Surrey after 5 long days planting my project in Weybridge.  No photos yet I’m afraid as it wasn’t looking very photogenic without the lawn and with the protective boards down on the terrace.  But I’ll be popping back at the end of October armed with my camera so I’ll share the pictures with you as soon as I can. Read more

From the drawing board: Concept design & sketches for a garden in Elstree

0 Written by Lisa on 22nd Sep 2015 in From the drawing board

Concept Design Elstree Lisa Cox Garden Designs

I have recently been working with a couple in Elstree in Hertfordshire who are trying to make more of their garden and wanted some help to get started. Read more

A visit to Noel Kingsbury’s garden at Montpelier Cottage

2 Written by Lisa on 14th Sep 2015 in Inspiration

Montpelier cottage NGS open day Lisa Cox

Yesterday we visited Noel Kingsbury’s garden near Hay-on-Wye which was open under the National Garden Scheme (NGS). I wanted to go because I saw Noel speak at a conference last year and I was really interested in what he had to say about his research into the robustness of plants and plant competition, especially in public areas where maintenance is key. Read more

A visit to the Peto Garden at Iford Manor

0 Written by Lisa on 8th Sep 2015 in Inspiration

Main steps at Iford Manor Garden Lisa Cox Designs

I visited the Peto Garden at Iford Manor last week, a visit that had been arranged by my (sort of) local SGD Cluster Group. Read more

Autumn is coming!

0 Written by Lisa on 1st Sep 2015 in Inspiration

Early september morning in South Wales Lisa Cox Garden Designs

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Autumn seems to be on its way.  There are small signs of it coming including lots of berries.  In fact I’ve been picking blackberries in the garden for 2 weeks now – one benefit of having such a wild garden I guess! Read more

Gorgeous garden accessories by Mia Fleur

0 Written by Lisa on 24th Aug 2015 in Garden accessories, Inspiration

White stone pots by Mia Fleur

I’ve recently come across Mia Fleur, a family run online boutique selling gorgeous garden and interior products which are partly designed and handmade by them in the UK and partly sourced from British designer makers combined with a selection of home accessories and gifts which have been sourced from the UK and abroad. Read more

The importance of creating focal points

3 Written by Lisa on 17th Aug 2015 in Design Tips

Bench in Homebase Garden RHS Chelsea 2014 Lisa Cox Designs

However large of small your garden is, introducing deliberate focal points will help to create a journey around your garden. Read more

From the drawing board: Reigate garden almost finished

0 Written by Lisa on 11th Aug 2015 in From the drawing board

Back garden Reigate almost finished Lisa Cox Designs

I couldn’t wait any longer to share some of the images I took last week when I was planting the last bits at my Reigate project. Read more

Win a £75 Homebase Voucher with Keepmoat Homes

0 Written by Lisa on 5th Aug 2015 in From the drawing board

FB sharer - woman - no text

This month I’m working with Keepmoat homes to help their customers to make the most of their gardens. Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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