Did Those Boxwood Shrubs Bounce Back? Sharing a Few Landscape Updates!

Welcome to the 504th Metamorphosis Monday!

Back in May 2016, I redid the landscaping directly in front of my home. I chose Green Beauty Boxwood shrubs as my foundation plants and this was how they looked on the pallet at the store just prior to having them delivered.


Here’s how they looked after I planted them over the course of a few days. It was a challenge keeping them watered until I could get them all in the ground. Fall is the better time to plant shrubs since our summers are so hot here. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find such large boxwood shrubs in the fall, so I went ahead and purchased them while they were available. Here’s how I plant trees and shrubs in Georgia’s challenging red clay soil: How I Plant Trees and Shrubs in Georgia’s Red Clay Soil.


I tried to plant them far enough apart to allow for growth, even though they are supposed to be slow growing. The five larger boxwood shrubs are Green Beauty and the two smaller ones up front are Baby Gem Boxwoods. The tall, skinny boxwood at the back near the bench is Green Tower. The two boxwood topiary style shrubs in the planters are Green Mountain boxwoods.


I kept things symmetrical, planting both sides in a similar fashion. Again, you can see the spacing between the plants. I tried to leave plenty of space for future growth although these particular boxwood shrubs are supposed to be slow growers and stay low, exactly what I needed for this area. I know an all boxwood landscape may not appeal to everyone, but I love the serenity and continuity it creates.


Here’s one last view of the shrubs on the left shortly after planting. Notice the spacing/size of the plants.


Last winter we had an epic snowstorm here in the Atlanta area.

Snow Storm, December 2017


I was pretty upset when I saw what it did to my boxwood shrubs, especially the two Baby Gem Boxwood near the front. I went out several times to brush the snow off of them the best that I could, but it continued to snow and eventually, you couldn’t even see the smaller Baby Gem boxwoods at all! They looked like giant spiders in the photo below. πŸ™

Snow Covered Green Mountain Boxwood Shrubs


Just wanted to share an updated photo of how all the boxwood shrubs look now. They have grown tremendously, so much for being slow growing! Thankfully the Baby Gems have fully recovered. And notice how fat they are! They are quickly filling in the gaps I left between the shrubs.

Please excuse my sad hydrangea in the back. This photo was taken a few weeks ago right after I had been out of town for a couple of weeks, and apparently, we didn’t get a lot of rain during the time I was gone. It’s okay, just very wilted. It should be fine again next spring.

I think I’d like to keep these shrubs in a ball shape for a more formal look. I’m not sure if I should trim off some of the taller, scraggly looking growth now, or wait until early spring of next year. It looks pretty messy so I’m tempted to trim off those really tall shoots now to round out the shrubs a bit more.

Growth of Boxwoods over a Summer


Here’s the other side…I can’t get over how much they have all grown!

Boxwood Shrubs, Growth over Summer


One more little landscaping update…

A few years back I had to have the 25+ foot Leyland Cypress I had planted here 20 years+ before, removed. They had become way too large and no longer looked good. Plus, they had created a dark tunnel here on the side of the house, completely shading out the grass on this side of my home.


Most were replaced with Savannah Holly trees since I didn’t want the trees to get quite as tall again on the side of the house.


But I decided to go with Leyland Cypress again for this area in the backyard for the fast-growing screening they provide.


I figured my neighbors would like the screening and I knew I would enjoy it for my screened porch and decks which are two stories up. Here’s how the trees looked right after planting in October 2014.


Here’s how they looked two years later in June 2016. Though they were growing quickly, they were growing a bit slower than they had the first time I planted them so many years ago. I think the slower growth this time around is due to the shade they are getting from the trees in my backyard.


I took this photo this past summer. It has been 4 years and the trees are just starting to provide a bit of screening for the porch and decks that are two stories up.


By next summer they should provide screening again for the porches and deck. I love my neighbors, they are a wonderful family, but I’m sure they would prefer looking at greenery over staring at my decks and porch–not to mention that crazy woman who stands on chairs every Wednesday to take photos of her table. πŸ˜‰

Just wanted to share these two updates. Leyland Cypress trees have gotten a bad rap in my area over the last few years. I think there was a disease that was affecting many of them. However, mine never got whatever was going around, they had just grown too tall and no longer looked full around the bottom. I think these will do fine here on this side of the backyard, at least for many more years. I’ll share a photo next summer to give you an idea of how they look.

Leyland Cypress Trees, Great Screening Trees for Privacy


Hope you enjoyed this quick update on some of the landscaping I’ve shared in the last few years. I’m looking forward to all the fabulous Before and Afters linked for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

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  1. Wow those boxwoods have really grown. Those “Baby Gems” don’t look like babies any more. Will you be trimming them to maintain a shape? I’ve read it’s best to trim them before late fall so the new growth will have time to harden before a frost. Looks like your Limelight Hydrangeas have also grown and flowered beautifully.

    • I know, they are getting to be as big as the Green Beauty boxwoods. I had hoped to keep them in a ball shape. I need one of those machines that fit down over the whole plant. lol I guess I’ll just do my best to trim them back to a round shape. Normally I like a free-growing shrub but was going for a more formal look here in front of the house.
      I think I will trim them this week. Hopefully, that is early enough before we get any seriously cold weather.
      I think I need to cut the hydrangeas a lot, too. I’ve been trimming them every year, but I may need to do a more drastic trim this year. Not looking forward to that!

  2. The boxwoods must be really happy! Did the garden center share any tips on how to clip them? Curious for my own yard πŸ˜‰

    My hydrangeas are due a big cutting back. They really shot up this summer.

    • I should probably call them and ask…or actually I may text one of the managers who I’ve been talking to about replacing one of the shrubs that is thinning on the inside. It looked that way when it was new and has gotten worse. Long story on that. lol

      How far back will you cut your hydrangeas, Mary? I need to Google on how to trim a “standard” (treeform) hydrangea.

      • Mary from Virginia says

        I’m fairly ruthless when it comes to cutting back. I barely trimmed my limelight one year and oh my goodness, I thought I would die at the size it grew! I cut back to about three feet from the ground, threw on a bunch of Black Kow compost/manure, and mulch. In the spring, and once during blooming season I use Espoma Holly Tone. It produced a ton of beautiful blooms this year.

  3. I love the boxwoods and think they look perfect in front of your house.
    (Possibly because the house where I grew up was that same color and had boxwoods in front, planted by my grandfather!) Everything I’ve seen says you can trim boxwoods any time but avoid late fall, as the new growth won’t have time to “harden off” before winter. Since it’s still very early fall in Georgia, you could neaten them up a bit now and see if they need any more trimming in the spring. I found a Martha Stewart video about trimming boxwoods but I haven’t had time to read it yet. https://www.marthastewart.com/916040/trimming-boxwoods

    • Thanks, Joy! I think I’ll do that this week, just cut back the tall, spiky parts that are sticking up so high. Thanks for that link…will check it out!

  4. Merlin Parde says

    We ARE two boxwoods-in-a-pod!!! Just luv my boxwoods lining our “lane” – everyone told me “would not survive” in a planter…5 years later…franki

    • Ha! Showed them! πŸ™‚ My two Green Mountain boxwoods that are in planters in front of the porch are doing great! Hope they keep it up for a long time because I love them there.

  5. You have been very lucky with your Leyland cypresses. I have to have seven 25-30 footers taken down because they have huge swaths of dead branches in them randomly spaced along the whole height. Caused by the virus that’s around here. Since they line the edge of the backyard and provide some privacy from the neighbors a bit higher on the hill, I’ll have to find something to replace them.

    • Oh, no, that’s awful, Sandra! Sorry you had to go through that. I hope mine never get that disease/virus. The other evergreen tree that everyone around here recommends and uses and supposedly grows pretty fast is Cryptomeria. So check those out and see if they will work for you. The only thing I don’t like about Cryptomeria is how it “bronzes” in the winter. I’m not sure if all varieties do that. I think some do it worse than others. My neighbors on the other side of me don’t bronze very much at all, but others I’ve seen planted in front of subdivision I pass, look half dead every winter because of how badly they bronze.

  6. We, too, got out and knocked snow off of our bushes and trees last winter during and after that snow storm. Being originally from the Chicago area we know how snow can ruin plants. I had a friend here in GA tell me she thought we were cray for doing that until she saw how it ruined all her trees and bushes.

    • Yeah, I don’t blame you Pam…it was on there for a long time…too many days. I hope we don’t get that again this winter.

      • You have to admit, tho, that it was pretty

        • I’m not a snow fan, I look at it and see misery. I see stuck at home for days, accidents on the roads, high gas bills and being freezing cold. I have trouble seeing the pretty because I dislike it so much. If it would just last one day and night and then go away, then I would like it. I don’t like it when it sticks around for several days. I’m just not a snow fan.

  7. Nancy S. Akeroyd says

    I will try to be reinventing my yard if possible this fall. Gardening is an never ending story. Deer are always my biggest challenge but boxwoods always seem to deter them. Azaleas are not safe although supposedly are and posionous to them…..they don’t care…..iris the same……sooo, I will try to find some more boxwoods which although some turned gold during the winter last year do bounce back. The Amish sometimes have them so I will try there first. The nurseries here don’t have many and they are too pricey here when they do. I loved my original plantings and now I am attempting to come up with the advanced version of our yard since our blue spruce looks like the Griswalds Christmas tree in the front yard now. I need to clear out the area around it and reinvent the front yard. I still love the blue spruce although it may completely swallow the yard over time. Maybe, we will croak before then though as we are at the 70 year mark …..or move to another more eldlerly friendly home? That is also our dilema right now…..leaving a place that is almost too much to care for but feel comfortable in with familar surroundings or move and feel a bit lost but able to have others do the yard work or have almost no yard work like a Charleston style garden home or senior community type place. We are not joiners and do not want organized play at this point…..we want our independance. Maybe if we were 80 plus? But I have had falls forgetting my age playing pickleball or doing too many things like hiking ect and my husband his had heart problems and he just wants to concentrate on his art and painting and so forth. Walking has become a challenge since my last fall that really messed up my body big time and I have been forbidden by doctors to walk or lift or do yard work (like I will totally listen?). We really don’t want to move ……Soooo, for now boxwoods may be the answer to the deer wars and cure our yardwork ills. Once I do the initial planting I can handle a little trimming……but I need something easier…..the challenges of becoming older are never ending though I find. Our brains are still young…..the bodies are giving out…..what to do? Maybe the boxwoods will be a temporary solution? Moving seems overwhelming. I am off to find more boxwoods!

  8. Your shrubs look beautiful. Love all your decorating ideas.

  9. Lordy, I just can’t believe how much time has passed since you planted the boxwoods and the trees in the side yard. Do you think we might live in time warps when we reach senior status?

  10. I love boxwoods, but mine have grown too large over the past 14 years, and we’re now thinking about replacing some at our front gates. I trim mine every fall AND spring. I would go ahead and shape them now. Yours will have time to harden before winter. I’ve trimmed as late as early Nov and they’re fine (and I’m about 500 miles north of you!). I love looking at a clean garden in winter. Your boxwoods and Leyland cypress go nicely with your property.

  11. Are those hydrangeas planted in the large pots in the center of each area? If so, how do you get them to grow in your area? I love them, but have been unsuccessful with them down here in South Texas. Thanks for more landscape ideas!

    • Yes, they are Limelight Hydrangeas. Hydrangeas grow great in Georgia. I remember seeing humongous ones all over an Aunt’s yard when I was growing up. They just need a good bit of shade which we have a lot of in Georgia with all the trees we have here. Plus, we normally get a fair amount of rain. So Hydrangeas grow really well here…all types. If you amend the soil really well when you plant them and plant them where they are mostly in shade, they should do well. I have one by my mailbox that takes full sun, which is rare for Hydrangeas. Wonder if that one would work well in your area? You can read about it in this post: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/dharuma-hydrangea-a-low-growing-hydrangea-that-loves-the-sun/

  12. Susan, wondering if the deer eat your Leland Cypress. I wanted to plant some in our yard but read the deer love them. Last year they chewed one of my Arborvitae trees almost bare. Love the shape of Leland Cypress but most of all cause they grow so fast!

    • I live in a very urban area, but we do have a few deer living in the woods that surround our subdivision and others in this area. They rarely come out of the woods to our homes. I’ve only seen them a few times and that was during winter when we had snow. I’ve never noticed anything eating the trees…not sure if they like Leyland Cypress. Something ate all my pansies once. lol Not sure if that was deer or rabbits since I’ve seen rabbits in my yard.

  13. Thank you Susan!

  14. Boxwoods are very hardy and winter well – Lord know we get bad cold snowy winters here – and I have all sorts of boxwoods. They usually don’t like unblocked north exposures but even then they survive.

    You had nothing to worry about. And they look fabulous!

  15. I always smile reading your posts on boxwood…love the smell of it in the sun, very evocative for me (grandmother’s garden, colonial Williamsburg trips, etc), and such a handsome shrub with its neat, glossy leaves. Glad yours came back with such vigor!

    Had to relocate several mature hydrangeas in 2015, due to replacement of retaining wall. I pruned them ruthlessly, down almost to their crowns, and almost tossed them into the compost bin…but at the eleventh hour decided to plop them back in the garden instead. They are grand and glorious ladies again, full and abloom at about 5-6′ tall, though it took a couple years!

    I don’t think that’s the prescribed method of pruning hydrangeas, though πŸ˜‰

  16. I enjoyed your post! I am a novice landscaping nut! I love planting and trying new things. I will however tell you, do not touch your bushes to shake the snow off. It will damage them! The snow is actually a protectant in the cold temps. And the branches will almost always bounce back on their own when the snow melts. Just a helpful hint.

  17. Cyndi Raines says

    LOVE boxwoods and yours are lovely. I have some in front of my house and we keep ours trimmed for a more formal look. This week we have to tackle cutting back a VERY large over grown Rose of Sharron bush/tree. How did it get so big? Lol My concern is that we have to cut it back drasticallyand then it will look woody. My neighbor says it will survive and bloom again in maybe 2 years, hope so, but definitely don’t want it this big. I planted it 21 years ago when we built our house and it was just little twigs, now it’s mammoth! Oh, the joys of gardening!
    Lol p.s. Susan, you don’t want to move north if you don’t like snow little sister, haha. I just read the Farmer’s Alamac is predicting a very cold winter with LOTS OF SNOW for we who live in the north with it lasting until April. UGH. By March, even I am ready for it to leave. I have’t told my husband yet. He is like you and each year it’s more of a struggle for him. I think we may have to schedule a visit to my Aunt in Florida this winter, hehe.

  18. WOW Susan your boxwoods have gotten huge in just two years! I love boxwoods and wanted to plant some in our yard but I haven’t been able to find any. I had to settle for Indian Hawthorns.

  19. That’s a lot of growing Susan. We can’t grow boxwood here, but with my front shrubs, I try not to use anything electric to trim them. Joann’s sells floral scissors that can cut tree limbs. By cutting/pruning them, they aren’t butchered and the intense sun won’t burn them. I think when it snowed there last time I suggested buying the old type Christmas lights to keep them warm when it snows. Newer LED lights won’t provide heat. After Thanksgiving, my neighbor throws away their hay bales they use for decoration. I retrieve them to take apart and put around my plants. BTW Yard work counts double for exercise.

  20. Hi Sandra I’m a little late reading my emails and always read yours. I would like to know on the hydrangea tree did you cut this tree back with the wiltered flowers on it? When do you cut them back or do you not cut them. Thanks Irene

    • I wait until spring and cut them back in late winter/early spring before new growth starts appearing. I’m going to cut them back a lot this next spring so they will fill out more next spring/summer.

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