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Gardening with Boxwood

Drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, and ever so adaptable, boxwood is an evergreen shrub that deserves a place in the garden. Writer Tovah Martin visits landscape designer Andrea Filippone's New Jersey home, where she planted boxwood throughout her garden.

Photography by: SUSIE CUSHNER

The beds in Andrea Filippone's vegetable garden are framed with boxwood.

With a blustery location plundered by deer from all directions, Andrea Filippone turned to boxwood and found the plant of her dreams. Not only is it durable against the elements -- including drought -- but this infinitely adaptable evergreen is not on the menu for nibblers. As a result, Andrea has become a major advocate for boxwood, suggesting it to clients of her company, F2 Environmental Design, and selling plants from her boxwood nursery. Her goal is to make many different cultivars of boxwood readily available.

Photography by: SUSIE CUSHNER

Another secret for growing robust boxwood is organic soil full of microbes and good fungi resulting from the application of compost and compost tea. Mulching (she uses leaf mulch) is how Andrea reduces the need to irrigate while also cutting down on weeding. At the end of the day, she has a handsome workhorse for hedging, edging, and accenting her homefront without a whole lot of labor.