I planted some Box around one of my vegetable beds in April last year. It was really a test to see what it would look like and how I could manage it. If all went well then I would consider putting edging around the other beds to make it a feature of the garden.
I find that vegetable gardens can become a little stark in the Winter when nothing is growing and box edging was traditionally used to create interest all year round and to keep the soil from leeching out of the beds during the rainy season.
Well, a year on and overall I’m happy with it. The best thing about it is that it is green all year round. And in Spring it puts on a growth spurt and sends out wonderfully, fresh, floppy new growth. It’s also a great little barrier to keep boisterous boys off my Lettuce. I think the Box edging has saved many a seedling. The other good thing (which may also be a bad thing) is that it grows very quickly. In just one year the bushes have closed ranks and now form almost a solid barrier.
Now the downsides – and there are some. The bushes harbour snails and slugs. They sit inside the bushes and wait for it to rain, then at night when I’m asleep they come out and eat my seedlings. It got so bad that I resorted to scattering slug pellets through the branches into the middle of the bushes. I don’t normally use pellets but this seemed like a neat way to get rid of my nemeses without exposing everyone to slug pellets. It worked.
The other downside is that I have to trim the bushes to keep them neat and then I have to brush up the clippings because if you don’t they just sit there, looking green, forever.
So, in short, I can see why the Victorian head kitchen gardener loved his Box bushes. I can also see why you’d need an army of men to trim them.