Words by Jessica Peace
If your box balls look frazzled, eaten and webby, look a bit closer and you’ll find that stripy little b*stad the box tree caterpillar.
SURRENDER AND COMPOST
It’s a hard fight, you can pick them off by hand, hurl them away from your box and pump up your fertiliser to get some new growth going; but missing just one or two of the critters (they’re actually totally cute) can leave your bush looking a bit sh*t. Best thing to do is send any infested box off to compost heaven and go shopping.
This is the closest one you’re gonna get: it’s green, glossy and hard as f’ck. Ilex crenata can be topiared to within an inch of its life, so you can still decorate your gardens with domes, cones and cocks.
WINTER BOX (Sarcococca)
These tiny flowers pump out one of the BEST winter scents then leave you with glossy, gothic winter berries. Rude not to.
YEW (Taxus baccata)
Think Hampton Court. Yew is the other green blob the British love to shape with our sheers. If you like to keep it trad and you haven’t hacked a yew yet, now’s the time.