BUXUS DISEASE – Problems with box hedging

A very popular ornamental shrub commonly known as Buxus or Boxwood and often grown as a border plant, trimmed to keep compact for a more formal type setting.
In the past thousands of these plants have been produced by nurseries to satisfy the demand from gardeners wanting to establish box hedges. The same plants have been used for topiary as well.

Then a disease appeared which has caused great problems for both nurseries and home gardeners.

Box Blight

Box Blight

Read more about Box Hedging Blight

cottage charm3

Historic Cottage Charm

by Rebecca Wilson from Earthwork Landscape Architects in Wellington

This charming early 1900’s cottage had a distinctive central axis and structure yet the garden consisted of meandering rose gardens which, whilst beautiful, did nothing to enhance this feature. Also, typically for this era, the outdoor living was non-existent. The new owners wanted a more structured, simple and less cluttered garden and a variety of places where they could sit outside and enjoy the garden. They also wanted to retain the cottagey, traditional feel of the property.

The design – inspired by Edna Walling – makes use of recycled terracotta tiles from  the site and recycled bricks to create  two courtyards which sit easily against the historic cottage.

The entrance path begins under an existing pergola and looks out over a fragrant, buxus-edged garden, with a stepping stone path leading the eye through informal gardens to the main lawn. A simple gravel chip path leads to the front door and around the house under a rose-covered arbor to the back courtyard.

Three formal lawns provide open spaces and are framed by the informal cottage style gardens. An existing summerhouse, once tucked away in a corner of the garden, has been relocated  to provide a  restful focal point along the  central axis.



The garden was originally designed in 1994 and has undergone a few subtle

changes in planting themes as the owners – very keen and experienced gardeners – experiment with new planting ideas (and attempts at lowering the maintenance!). These days the garden is an absolute delight thanks to their planting and the underlying structure which holds the whole garden together as you wander through the various spaces and are presented with a series of enchanting scenes and framed views. The use of recycled tiles and other materials, and simple brick-edged gravel chip paths etc ensure the new garden structures feel as though they have always been there, and yet the paved areas allow for the definitely 21st century enthusiasm for outdoor living!


Ellerslie designer seeks couple to marry in exhibition garden

The Ellerslie International Flower Show has begun a nation-wide search for a couple to get married in the Straight from the Heart exhibition garden at this year’s Show.


Christchurch Landscape ArchitectOlive Screenhas designed a wedding-themed garden for Ellerslie 2012 and is hoping the garden will host the first-ever wedding to be held at the Show.

Olive, who is also a marriage celebrant, has been involved in Ellerslie in the past, winning bronze in 2010 for Tohunga’s Garden, which she designed for Malcolm McBride from Letz Go Native.


This year Olive’s garden design, Straight from the Heart will be constructed by Pohutukawa Landscape Ltd. It features a big heart-shaped lawn in the central area of the 10m x 10m exhibition space, over which hovers a smaller heart-shaped deck.

In designing the garden, Olive says she researched marriage, looking at where the influences have come from over the years, the old-fashioned, historical and biblical connections about what marriage and weddings are all about. “It won’t be a traditional garden with roses and buxus hedging, but what the planting palette promises is a garden that harks back to those historical and biblical connections.”

She says she was inspired to create something that was “cheery and happy” and yet rich and meaningful, with a little bit of romance.

“I didn’t want anything to do with the earthquake; no demolition materials, recycled bricks or crumbling walls. I wanted the garden to be about new beginnings and happy endings.  This is a garden where dreams will be realised.”


If a couple can be found, Olive will officiate at the wedding during the show, being held from 7 to 11 March in Christchurch’s North HagleyPark.

Interested couples should contact Olive via email: olivescreen@yahoo.co.nz or on 027 289 1006.



Westmere house

Designing gardens for progressive buildings: case study

by Philip Smith, O2 Landscapes

One of the most interesting challenges associated with designing gardens for progressive buildings is bedding them back into the context of the neighbourhood in which they are situated.

The way in which this garden, within Auckland’s inner suburbs, meets the street is one of the most important aspects of its design.

It was important that the garden bears a lightness that complements the impressive architecture of the house. This is, in large part, achieved by the use of diverse native plantings on the main boundary, which contain a considerable number of threatened plant species.

Another notable feature of the design is the manner by which we adapted traditional elements of Auckland’s older suburbs, including drystone walls (constructed of Port Waikato limestone) and a custom-designed post-and-wire fence. Within this portfolio profile, we also describe in detail a climbing frame that we commissioned for the vegetable garden, based on the form of frames that are traditionally utilised within old market gardens.

We have had the good fortune to work on a considerable number of architecturally exciting homes, and this Auckland house is no exception. Designed by Stevens Lawson Architects, it bears the influence of the work of several New Zealand architects from the 1960s and 1970s, notable amongst which are Peter Beaven and John Scott.

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Camellia sasanqua Setsugeka

Camellias & other “garden darlings”

Rach from HEDGE Garden Design & Nursery reveals her favourite plants, trees and flowers.

What currently is your favourite plant and why?
Camellias – they are evergreen and elegant; they have a wide range of beautiful & blousey flowers which are sometimes fragrant; they are relatively trouble free; and they make a brilliant hedge.


Camellia sasanqua Setsugeka

What is the best use or best situation for this plant?
Camellias provide great backbone structure in a garden. They prefer acidic soils, and do well in full sun or part shade. I use them for hedges, large and small; pretty standards in pots outside French doors; pleached hedging along paths and allees; and as large columns for height or punctuation in the garden.

What have you combined with this plant?
Everything! You can use them in layered hedge combinations, and they work especially well if your hedges have contrasting textures. They also work well with flowering perennials, particularly providing “off season” interest in winter. And they look fabulous in contemporary gardens with structured native plantings like Karaka and Corokia hedging, and as a backdrop to architectural plants like Nikau Palms.

What is the most versatile and common plant you use?
There are lots of landscaping “darlings”, and I tend to use different trusted plants for different situations eg Dietes grandiflora in dry exposed sites, Buxus hedging in traditional gardens, Corokia hedging in contemporary and native gardens, Agapanthus on hard to reach clay banks, Renga Renga Lilies under trees, Ivy over sheer rotten rock walls …

What currently is your favourite tree and why?
I really love New Zealand’s iconic Pohutakawa Trees, although I would never advise a customer to plant one in a city garden! We also have lots of native trees and bush in Wellington, which bring in the bird life.

But I tend to yearn for a bit more interest provided by exotic deciduous trees, to feel the change in seasons, and to enjoy their silhouette branch structure, and to let in more light in winter. For suburban gardens, I especially love Liquidambars, Flowering Cherries, Cercis canadensis “Forest Pansy”, Pin Oaks, and the white barked Himalayan Birches Betula jacquemontii.

Do you use or grow rare species?
As well as being a garden designer, we grow topiaries, fruiting & flowering standards, balls, and cones, Chinese Star Jasmine & Camellias espaliers, and Ivy trained into shapes over wire frames;  Buxus & Corokia topiary; edible topiary like Lemon, Feijoa & Olive standards; and other native topiary like Pohutukawa Tree standards.

If you would like information on the plants in this article, please visit Findaplant.co.nz