Thursday, July 18, 2013

Buxus sempervirens 'Sufffruticosa', Dutch Box

Dutch Box
  Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa'
I grow a few of the so called Dutch variety of Box in pots. It's a slow grower, naturally compact and rounded and may only reach 45 cm or so after ten years. Over winter the foliage turns a bright coppery orange though some say this is a soil deficiency and can be corrected by using lime or dolomite in the soil. I like the colour at this time of year as it adds a glowing tone to the garden. I also grow it for the smell of the leaves, though admitting this may sound a bit perverse as it closely resembles the distinctive odour of cat pee on a warm day in summer. Just blame that ginger tom who is prowling the neighbourhood and marking his territory.
In Gerard's famous Herbal of 1633, the Box tree is shown as in the picture below and was unkindly described as having an evil and loathsome smell. I am sure some people would still agree.


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