A Boxwood You Don't Have To Baby
For years, I fantasized about planting formal lines of boxwood to define the borders of my front yard garden. But every time I got to the reality of what variety I could use, I was forced to reject the idea. My garden faces west, gets burning winter sun and lots of wind - everything boxwood hates. I was sure it would end up looking like this, or worse.
Several years ago, four quart pots of Buxus sempervirens 'North Star' (an introduction from Proven Winners) arrived on my doorstep. It claimed to be tough - a short (24"-32") cold tolerant (zone hardy 5a-9b) variety appropriate for hedging. That sounded impressive, but I was sure it wouldn't be happy in my garden.
Anyway, it was late fall, I wasn't in the mood to trial any more plants and
I had no place left to put them. I hurriedly tucked them into the front border and dared them to live.
In the spring, I was surprised that they had not died or turned brown, so I let them stay put, figuring the dry conditions and scorching summer sun would make toast of them. But that didn't happen, instead they slowly started putting on new growth and by the end of the summer they were on their way to becomng glossy little green balls that looked like something. After another year with the same results, I caved in and ordered a hundred of them.
Here's what they looked like after the first winter. No burnt or orangey looking foliage here. After three seasons in my garden, I have to admit that 'North Star' is a tough little shrub that deserves high marks.
It happily endures the wind and dry conditions in my garden. It's grows slowly too, perfect for a small garden. I prune it once during the season to keep the shape dense and tight.
It's a boxwood that doesn't need much coddling and obviously can take a lot of abuse from both the site and the gardener. In fact, considering that I dared this poor little shrub to live, I feel a little guilty about how much I'm enjoying it.