Robin Lane Box

Robin Lane Fox’s latest column in FTWeekend is required reading if you live in the UK and cherish your box. RLF gave his son box plants for his garden in west London and in August this year Cydalima perspectalis did not decimate them, it 100%ed them when he was away on holiday with his family for a fortnight. 

Loyal, long-standing readers will be familiar with my battle agin this box tree moth. May I, non-swank, mention that it seems, so far, that I have waged war more effectively than Lane Fox Jnr or the Friends of Margravine Cemetery; a rhetorical question. Here is what I wrote in July and RLF in his article amplifies.

He chides me for wasting at least £29 on a pheromone trap but doesn’t realise what pleasure I took seeing those measly moths in captivity. He recommends some killer sprays that I will deploy next spring. He warns that even a cold winter will not wipe them out. He instructs me not to cut back my box hedge in  winter (something I was about to do) and to feed it “intelligently”, his word. Also he advises anointing the roots with TopBuxus Health Mix ( a very PG Wodehouse brand name for dog food) and chides me, much too late, for planting far too closely.

If you live east of London you will be familiar with the dreaded Cydalima bugs. If you go to central London the dying, ornamental box plants outside unsold blocks of flats are a metaphor for our economic predicament. If you live west of London be prepared. RLF reckons that a moth can travel six miles in its lifespan.