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Always flourishing: an evergreen boxwood tale

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Common Name : Common/American Boxwood

Science-y Name : Buxus sempervirens

A Few Varieties : Buxus Sinicia (Korean boxwood)

Native or Non : Boxwood are non-native shrubs that were introduced to the states in the 1600s, right when settlers themselves were growing into colonists. The American Boxwood Society offers this bit of information on the first boxwood planting in the states: “The first planting occurred about 1653 at Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, the NW part of Long Island in New York, using boxwood brought over the Atlantic Ocean from Amsterdam.”

Characteristics : Boxwoods are a broadleaf evergreen shrub. This means they will keep their green leaves year-round. A real plus for a New England yard! People will use boxwoods a few different ways: placed at the opposite ends of garden beds as a living “bookend” or placed on either side of a doorway or a path to enhance an entrance. They are very tolerant of being planted together in a row to create an attractive natural fence, also known as a hedge or hedgerow.

Left to their own growing devices, boxwoods will get a shaggy look with many little branches that stick up or out of the main shrub. Boxwoods are considered some of the best shrubs to trim into shapes, like cubes or spheres. With a bit of extra attention, and skill with the electric trimmers, they can be given other creative topiary shapes. Spirals anyone?

Fun Fact : Boxwood is a desirable hardwood for carving and smaller wood projects. Though there isn’t direct proof it is generally thought that the buxus sempervirens got the common name boxwood because it could be carved into lovely little boxes. Little because the main trunk of a boxwood rarely grows over 6 inches across.

Also, sempervirens means vigorous or always flourishing.

Care Considerations : There are approximately 90 different varieties of boxwood. All of them like a mix of sun and shade. These shrubs do not like a lot of extreme exposure, however, and RAG Thyme gardeners can move smaller boxwood out of full sun or wind exposed areas that might keep them from thriving. In the spring our gardeners are going to prune the inner shrub for dead branches and check for any pests that need to be controlled so your boxwood shrubs stay green all season. Once the new spring growth is in we’ll trim it into shape for a summer’s worth of beauty.

Contact us to get an estimate on RAG Thyme services for your yard and garden! We’ll help existing plants stay brilliant, or suggest alternatives with as much beauty and personality.

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