The Box-tree.—Its Foreign Origin.—Its Western Attainments.—Its Usual Height.—Quality, Property, and Uses of its Wood.—Adaptability of its Foliage to Fantastic Designings.—How Propagated.— Winter Preservation of the Dwarf Species.—The Holly.—Its Varieties.—The American Variety Considered.—Its Range of Growth and Favorite Soil.—Its Ornamental Perfection.
This tree, although a native of Europe and Asia, may truly be said to be cosmopolitan. It reaches its greatest height in this country in Philadelphia. Who has not seen it used as an edging or border for walks, and admired the rich, dark, chrome-green of its leaves ? It usually reaches to the height of from thirty to forty feet, with a very heavy wood—in fact, so heavy that it will sink in water—and so closely and finely grained that it is used for the finest kind of mathematical-instrument work, and for the finest kinds of carving. In some of the finest European gardens the box-tree was formerly pruned into fanciful figures, and, on account of the thickness of its foliage, was especially adapted to this kind of work.
The box is best propagated from cuttings from six to eight inches long, which readily root if put in early in the fall in a frame of sandy soil; transplant to permanent position in the spring.
The dwarf species of the box, used for edging walks, should be carefully covered with snow, or some other covering that should remain all winter, care being taken not to smother it.