In March 2014 Monty Don revealed on the BBC Gardeners’ World programme that he was going to start ripping out some of the box hedging in his garden at Longmeadow. Over a couple of years it had been succumbed to more and more box blight. Nearly 18 months later the programme has revisited his garden and with the advice of RHS Senior Plant Pathologist Dr Matthew Cromey, Monty has had a change of tack with the remaining bushes and hedges.
Affected plants are showing regrowth from the stems so the recommendation is to cut them back by between a third and a half, this will give the new shoots more light and better air circulation reducing the opportunity for further infection. Whilst doing this work the advice was to wash your hands when moving between areas of the garden so as not to transfer spores and to bag and burn the removed wood and leaves.
Monty’s new motto is now “Get creative not destructive”, referring to dealing with his box ball area where he will cut out significant parts of the balls to allow them to regrow rather than ripping them out totally. This is an opportunity to reshape the balls into other interesting and organic shapes – time to get clipping and shaping.