Who remembered to do their Derby Day box clip? Not us! Traditionally, box topiary and hedging plants (Buxus sempervirens) are clipped on the same day as the Epsom Derby in early June. This is because it is (in theory) the furthest point from any frosts, meaning the plants have the longest possible time to heal up and toughen up after their trim.
No Derby Day this year to help remind us, but we have at least got it done in the right month. Avoid the temptation to regularly cut your Buxus as this is thought to make them more prone to the dreaded 'Box Blight'. If your plants are particularly unhealthy or misshapen they will survive a hard hack, although expect to wait a while for them to regrow.
A very nice alternative to box is the Pittosporum Beach Ball (right), which naturally grows into a dense 4ft ball shape without any clipping.
Gardening advice by Catherine McMillan
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