The Scent of Virginia

by Staff on March 29, 2014

Boxwoods in VirginiaClose your eyes and what comes to you when you think about “Virginia”?   Is it the climate?  Peanuts?  Civil War?  “Y’all”?

For me, I not only envision the beautiful mountain backdrops, I also see fenced grand estates and horse farms much like the ones in Keswick in Albemarle County.

And while my eyes are closed, there’s another sensory experience that says “Virginia”:  the smell of the boxwood hedges.

Our area is landscaped with boxwood plants in abundance.  Some of the plants have been adorning the walkways of estates for over a hundred years.  In fact if you go to The Ruins in Barboursville, you can actually walk into towering groves of boxwoods, shaped much like an outdoor room with boxwood walls, like a secret tent canopy.

And most of the reason I think of boxwoods has to do with the aroma of the boxwood plant.  There’s nothing quite like it.  It’s the smell of Virginia.  When wet with dew or rain the aroma is heavier, and different variations have slightly different smells, but they all contribute to the overall experience of what it means to be ‘Southern’.

Occasionally we see boxwood hedges that show signs of neglect….. untrimmed, overgrown, sparse leaves, woody and barren in the middle.  It can happen over time and may not be intentional.  Old estates may outlive their owners and their boxwoods continue on without regard for whose name is on the deed.  Churches, stores, cemeteries…. boxwoods just thrive in Virginia’s climate.

So we like to remind folks that there’s a company devoted to the restoration and health of our boxwoods called (what else?) The Virginia Boxwood Company.   They also sell Blue Ridge Mountain boxwoods.  The folks at Virginia Boxwood have been in business for decades and they’ve worked on gardens at universities, private homes, and businesses.  They are proof that you can restore boxwoods to health by providing the plants with a program of nutrition, sunlight, pruning and pest removal that allows a boxwood to rejuvenate itself.  You might also enjoy links from our previous article about boxwoods.    We’re lucky that so many Virginians are devoted to their boxwoods.  Cheers! (Y’all.)


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