Monday, 10 March 2014

Out with the box

In with the hebe.

Thank you for the suggestions for what I should replace my diseased box balls with (that sounds nasty) and I have decided on hebe, for now at least.
My second nearest choice was for yew, but I shelved it for now, simply because it was quite pricey. I think I will get one anyway when I can find a small, cheap plant or cutting, but this will be a long term project, for now, I wanted those bare empty pots filled with a nice replacement.

I went for hebe because it is very prunable (is that a word?) it has nice a long season of flowers, this one does anyway, and at the moment it is very cheap in my garden centre - always a good incentive. I know it can become a bit leggy and woody and I am going to learn about very careful pruning techniques to try and avoid that happening.

The variety I plumped for is Hebe Raspberry Ripple and here are the two plants

looking very smart in their pots (anything would look smart after the brown, dry dying box to be honest. They have interesting foliage too and mark the edge of the path near the less than interesting covered cat litter tray that is my raised bed (so far the covering has done the trick nicely, but the time is coming soon when it will need uncovering - how long before the word gets around in the cat community?)

Here is a picture of this variety of hebe in flower:

 I think it is rather lovely.

The wonderful early Spring weather has been a delight, long may it continue. It's tempting to start getting things in the ground, but don't worry, of course I won't, it could snow yet! The seedlings are all coming on really well on my window sills and I am about to put out washing onto the line for the first time this year, this sounds very dull, but believe me it still remains a treat after years of living in flats.

I built a rustic frame for the area I have marked out as a dahlia patch, after seeing something similar in the Sarah Raven flower catalogue. I liked the way it blended in and looked natural when surrounded with flowers, much more so than canes which can spoil the look if you ask me.

I hope it doesn't collapse like a deck of cards at the first tiny breeze, that WOULD be embarrassing. I will add more twigs as and when they become necessary but it is a good start. Lucky there were loads of nice rustic looking branches lying about after the gales of a few weeks ago.

Final photo of the day is of my rhubarb which has come on a treat thanks to all the rain. Won't be long before I am enjoying my first rhubarb crumble.


  1. All looking good and we love hebe but haven't any at the moment. Your rhubarb looks great, I think mine might have perished after being submerged during winter!

  2. Some folk have a good recovery of their Box shrubs after regular spraying with a Seaweed feed and lightly forking in seaweed feed around the roots. Alas, your Box sounds like it was too far gone!
    Foxes and badgers like newly prepared ground too, worms!
    I had a lovely Hebe once called, Margery Fish, with lovely long flowers.
    Happy gardening!

  3. The hebe you choose looks lovely, I like the flowers on it.

  4. Our rhubarb is coming on a treat too. Your hebe plants will really make a statement.
    Love from Mum

  5. Lovely choice of plant for your pots! Your rhubarb isn`t quite as far ahead as mine, so I might beat you to it when it comes to making the first crumble of this year.

  6. Good luck with the Hebe. It looks beautiful.

  7. Save all your orange peels and leave them in the catty garden bed. Lemons. Limes. Grapefruit. Cats hate it. No danger to anything. No violence. Lasts for ages, but this is a forever project.

  8. I have always found Hebe's a bit tender and often don't make it through the winter - hope you have better luck than me.

  9. I've got several hebes, all from twigs I begged, borrowed or stole, so don't just throw the bits when you prune - you could have a hebe forest in a year or two!!

  10. I love your Dahllia frame, a really nice idea.
    Your plants seem way ahead of mine and I live on the south coast!

    Your hebe choice is very pretty.
    Have a great weekend. We have sun organised for the weekend apparently. Hope you get some up there too.

  11. At least you only had two pots of hebes - did you see Gardener's world where Monty had to destroy all his little hedges? I am not very fond of formal box hedges myself, but it was a shame as he had had them a long time.
    Hebes are great plants and yours look like they will have lovely flowers.

  12. Hebes are fairly easy to raise cuttings from something to use those prunings for. They may need a bit of protection in winter - some varieties are less hardy than others

  13. Have you not thought of 'forcing' your Rhubarb? Any big old pot, oil drum, or dustbin will do. As long as it's light proof, it will give you much earlier and more tender Rhubarb for those mid-March crumbles.

  14. Hebe is an excellent choice and there are so many lovely different varieties. Other evergreen plants you might want to look into are Skimmia japonica, there are many varieties to choose from and they all have lovely flower buds for about 6 months (!). And also a few dwarf types of Pieris – I have 'Little Heath' and after 10 years it is still a 1’ lovely bush.

    Your rhubarbs are looking great, a harvest for you soon :-)

  15. That is an impressive Hebe. We lost all of our Box Hedging a while back, you may be interested in our replacement.

  16. I have just found your lovely blog. Your garden looks great. You have inspired me to plant salads in my window boxes. Love the accompanied video of your garden through the seasons, thankyou Jan B.

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