Replacement for blighted box hedge

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Sian in Belgium, Jun 27, 2019.

  1. Sian in Belgium

    Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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    I help look after the gardens at my church. There was a box hedge under the line of windows for the main worship area. It has succumbed to box blight - probably aggravated by being under some drought stress.
    I am wondering what we can replace the hedge with. It does not necessarily need to be as formal as a regularly cut hedge.

    One thought I have (with a glass full of rooted cuttings) is a rosemary hedge. Rosemary grows really well in this soil and climate. I have to cut back our own rosemary really hard every couple of years, and it seems to tolerate this treatment. Rosemary is a very popular herb here - I take the arm-fulls of branches to church, where they are very quickly claimed! Many people live in apartments in the capital, and love to drink rosemary tea (no idea about this)! So any hedge would supply a need!

    I have read here a number of comments that rosemary does not cope with pruning well.
    Am I just fortunate with my plants? Has anyone else grown a rosemary hedge successfully?
     
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    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      We've not planted a hedge but our Rosemary seems to take the cutting back quite easily and we have three large ones and some small, newer, ones. Two of the large are standard types which we've had for over forty years. The other is a prostrate version which is twenty years old. They get pruned fairly regularly with being used for Mrs Shiney's flower arranging (she does lots) and giving to friends for culinary use.
       
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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Agree, Rosemary tolerates pruning back very well if not into very old wood I find :)
        The only problem, as I see it, is that as a hedge Rosemary can be fickle.....so often the odd plant dies out leaving a hole in the hedge??

        How about euonymus green spire as an alternative Sian? Tough as old boots and surprisingly attractive...rich green, upright and compact. :)
         
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        • Sian in Belgium

          Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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          I’m still planning on using rosemary for most of the replacement hedge, but was also thinking about sage as an alternative? It can’t be cut in such a regimented fashion, but does seem to grow well in the soil here. The idea of sage (wisdom) growing alongside rosemary (remembrance) in church grounds appeals...
           
        • Sandy Ground

          Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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          @Sian in Belgium I've only just seen this thread, so thought I might add to it.

          First off, box blight is treatable nowadays, and its easier for you to do so than others. All you need to do is pop over the border to the Netherlands to get what you need. Or get it sent by post, of course.

          Box is very common in churchyards here also. I even posted a photo of one on here the other day. A common replacement is here Ilex Crenata. Faster growing than box, and quite similar in appearance. It can even be formed in a similar way.

          Euonymus can be used also. In fact, I am using that (Emerald Gaiety) in my own garden as an edger. It will not be formally cut though. In regards to the variety "Green Spire" that was mentioned. Even if I planted four last year, it may be a bit marginal here. I'll know for certain come Spring! I took this photo of some in a German garden Centre last summer. I doubt that they are what you will be wanting.

          IMG_1383.JPG
          Both were labelled as Green Spire, but I suspect one may be mislabelled.
           
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          • Loofah

            Loofah Well used member

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            Yew is my current favourite! But if rosemary is in the list then probably lavender should be too.
            Lonicera ntida and even privet...
             
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