Trees and Shrubs forum: Which size Japonese Boxwood should I buy?

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Jun 10, 2016 9:40 AM CST
Hi everyone. I'm so pleased to find this forum.

We've been renovating a 150+ Greek Revival in Southern N.E. (Zone 7a). Our renovation is heaving along, and we've just started to think about the landscaping, a bit, to make the exterior a little more easy on the eyes (the neighbors have moved from calling our home "the ruin" to calling it "the invalid"). We think a perimeter of boxwood would be a good start--many other homes on our street have box.

I should mention we are in one of several "historic districts" in the state, but our home is not subject to restrictions such as approval for landscape or other changes. I do, however, want to plant a traditional, historic and region-appropriate garden--as money allows. The boxwood perimeter is the first step. The house is on a hill--in the middle of town--next to a historic church and across from a beautiful park designed by a famous landscape architect. Nope. No pressure at all!

We are fortunate to have a beautiful, original granite wall (about 3 feet high) along the sidewalk (front) of the yard, which extends up the driveway. Standing on the sidewalk, the ground level-door is eye-level and the house is three stories high, gable-end facing the front yard.

The width of the yard is about 25 feet, so I know it's going to be pretty darn expensive to plant the box hedge.

My goal is to have a 2 1/2 -3 foot hedge in the first couple years and maybe up to 4 ft. tall after that.

I plan to plant Oakleaf or Annabelle Hydrangea just behind the box hedge (that will be step 2).

My question is this: what size boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica) should I aim to buy? I've seen #3 (2.5-3 Gallon) container for sale for about $49.99 (which I believe is probably 2 yr. old box). I'd be happy if that would do, but I'm worried it will take a long time to cultivate a 3 foot hedge with that size plant. Also, someone told me I'm better off with a plant that is 1-2 years old because it may be healthier than an older, bigger one. I'm sure there are factors that qualify this idea. Please advise. Smiling

I'm a novice gardener, so I'm very happy for any and all advice. Watched many good videos on soil cultivation and digging the trench, so I'm prepared to do the dirty work and to cross all my "Ts" and dot all my "Is"

Thanks, so much, for your advice!
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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Jun 14, 2016 5:46 PM CST
Sounds like a fun project!

As a landscape architect myself (maybe not so famous, but steward some famous landscapes here) I'd like to know a bit more - like where in southern New England? That's a large swath of territory.

Pictures (worth thousands of words) might also be helpful in recommending more things, but scale is very important as is the view from various directions. Seeing the site without anything yet planted may allow provision of comments to mean a lot more.

I'd also like to know the reason for the specific selection of Japanese Boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica) versus any number of other potential selections. In zone 7a, you certainly should not have any hardiness issues.

Other good information is soil type (sandy, loam, clay) and pH range, as well as likely annual rainfall.

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