It’s that season again where the boxwood must be sheared. A time that will leave any Lord and Schryver gardener with burning arms and an aching back. But the reward is a worth it as the backdrop of tightly manicured hedges perfectly frame the colorful summer annuals and perennials. This year we are closely watching the boxwood due to a rapidly spreading blight. Boxwood blight is caused by the fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata which can cause rapid defoliation of even large and apparently healthy boxwood in a very short time. It is usually fatal and once a garden is infected the main course of action is removal and destruction of the plants. We are undergoing a very rigid inspection process, followed by proper cultural controls and a regular chemical treatment program to try to keep this destructive disease out of the gardens.
In between icing sore muscles from pruning the miles of boxwood maintained by the Lord and Schryver Conservancy, I’ve been pruning the Rhododendrons now that they have finished blooming. We will utilize the newly restored Reserve Garden to keep a steady supply of blooming plants on hand to fill in the garden as needed throughout the summer. For a fun rotation of long season color, we are planting summer bulbs like gladiolus and acidanthera in pots at two week intervals. This allows us to stagger the bloom time and also fill in spots in the garden that need color tweaks as we move through the season.The weather has been perfect for doing boxwood this week, highs in the 70’s so not too hot. Never shear boxwood on high heat days in the full sun as opening up the new tender foliage underneath can lead to sunburn. Cooler, wetter weather is on its way…conditions that can encourage the spread of boxwood blight.
The delphiniums, foxgloves and roses are following the peonies into full bloom and looking spectacular in the garden!