Boxwoods are Annoying
by Jarad Johnson
Boxwoods annoy me. There, I said it. They’re everywhere, in every yard and garden in America, it seems. They’re even in front of my house! And I don’t like them; to be frank, they’re boring, but since they’re living plants, I would feel bad taking them out of the ground. I prefer things with colorful blooms to form hedges or to put in front of a house: hydrangeas, butterfly bushes, even forsythia is preferable to the bland, green foliage of the boxwood. And people want to use them in every part of the yard, a decision that still baffles me every time I see it. The structural upkeep required to keep them in that square, even shape is, to me, overtly contrived and far too high maintenance.
But really, what irks me about them is that they’re a representation of a mentality shared by most of the developed world. That is, dominion over nature, molding it to our desired shape. People like to think that they own the earth, the land they live on, and the soil they garden in. This is not true, a false idea perpetuated by a need to own everything. We are stewards of the earth, caretakers even, but not owners. But before I get too far into my Eco-Feminist rant, let me say that to a certain extent, all gardens are in a sense a crafting of nature. You’re not going to just let the weeds take over a carefully planted bed of flowers or fertilize the dandelions that spring up everywhere. However, boxwoods and topiaries are far too artificial for my taste. I like to let plants do what they want, and the most maintenance I do is pruning and deadheading. I cannot be bothered to shape these evergreens into their desired shape. The boxwoods in front of my house are overgrown and would likely grow to great heights if I didn’t desire to see out the window.
That is not to say that I don’t think that boxwoods can’t be used in the garden. In a vegetable plot, I actually like them for making a hedge around a raised bed. Vegetables are colorful and full vibrant color, and the green of the boxwoods makes them stand out. Vegetable gardens can be wild and untamed looking (a great look, by the way) and boxwoods, or any sort of hedging, can bring a little (but not too much!) order to the beds. That, I believe, is what they’re supposed to be used for. To make plants like that stand out more, not to blend into the grass by themselves. And of course, too much of anything is can be overwhelming; the more boxwoods you have, the more and more you just have a mass of green foliage. No, thank you. Perhaps if they bloomed I might like them more.
Jarad is the co-administrator and writer for Sacred Chickens, attends college at MTSU, loves tea and coffee, and tries to spend every spare second reading. He recently developed an interest (some might say obsession) with gardening. Jarad is an English major with a concentration in literature. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!