As you know, I've been working on the circle garden. I've not showed you much progress lately, but I hope to finish up the planting this weekend and I'll be able to show you some real progress.

I have, however been planting bits of it, including the first thing that went in: a centerpiece boxwood in each section.

Almost immediately, they started declining instead of thriving. The foliage turned brown, there was no noticeable new growth and they may have actually been getting smaller.

What killed my boxwood?
Boxwoods in various stages of ill health after I dug them up. They were just planted a few weeks ago.

So I went through all the usual checks in my head: Did I water enough? Was there something wrong with the soil? Was there a cold snap that affected them?

And nothing added up.

And then one morning the mystery was solved.

Want to take a guess as to what was going on?

I'll give you a hint. Here's the culprit.

Odin showing off his "handiwork." 

Yep. It appears that Odin, who is funny, usually cute (although he's badly in need of a bath and trim at the moment), good-natured and generally a very good dog, had been helping with the watering of my boxwood. And from what I can find online, it's not unusual for dogs to have this kind of attraction to boxwood.

Odin, like all our dogs, has been trained to stay out of the garden, but that only works when it looks like a garden. Since the boxwoods went in first, I think to Odin that looked like a bathroom surrounded by soil. Now that there are other plants growing there I've not noticed him even venturing close to the area.

So, as much as it pained me (boxwoods are not cheap), I went out and bought four new boxwoods and replaced them all. I'm putting so much work into this garden this year that I just won't be able to stand looking at half dead boxwoods there.

There's hope for the original boxwoods. I think they'll probably come back, but it will be quite a while. I've replanted them elsewhere in the yard for now.


  1. Since our boxwoods smell like cat urine sometimes, I guess I can't blame him. I'm afraid to keep our front windows open for fear our male cat will decide there is another cat out there & spray around the windows. He's been neutered, but he still has territory issues. Glad you figured out the problem, and hope the boxwoods recover! You could always start some more from cuttings...

  2. Well for goodness sakes. I have never heard of such a thing. Odin is big enough to make a difference. Aren't you glad you figured it out?? It would be driving me crazy too wondering what in the world was going on. Better luck this time. You might have to fence them off until he figures out that he isn't supposed to do that.

  3. I don't think this was what caused this, we had a horseshoe row of small box woods planted by our patio which is fenced. Several looked the same as yours and no dogs or other animals were around them. My husband said it was overwatering, but since only 5 put of 13 plants did this I don't think that was the problem. Eight remaining and doing great in same spot. Plants were in the ground 2 yrs before the 5 looked like yours. But I don't know the cause.

  4. I think you may have a dog watering your boxwood but the real culprit may be mites. Boxwood are susceptible to many problems so a look at them by an extension office may save you money.

  5. Gardening with dogs can be a challenge! I'd love to know how you train him to stay out of your gardens. Mine treat my beds like roads since they both seem to hate walking in grass.

  6. I would expect the boxwoods to come back. I've had dieback and cut out parts and it takes a while but they recover. Better your dog than box blight as the culprit.

  7. But he looks so innocent! My boxwoods suffered a combination of drought followed by a cold snap, but are recovering


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