The week before the garden was open to the public, I pruned the yew hedges. Preferably this pruning has to be done around the longest day. Still, you may prune later in the season too. When birds are breeding in the hedge for instance, I wait until the little birds have flown from the nest.

As you may know Yew (Taxus baccata) is slow growing. It is evergreen and gives a lovely backdrop to your border. But Yew is also very poisonous and that is exactly the issue I would like to share with you.

Did you know that the poisonous needles of the Taxus are used to make drugs against cancer? Because Taxus baccata contains baccatin and that is exactly the ingredient used for chemotherapy. Of all the different varieties of Taxus, only Taxus baccata can be used for this purpose.

In our neighbourhood we even have a collecting point for the taxus pruning material. Maybe the same goes for your area too. For more information, please take a look at the (Dutch) website The yew needles are collected from June 15 until August 31.

It is important to collect the young shoots as pure as possible. Take care that no other plants mix with your yew pruning. That is a bit of a hassle, but for a good cause. After all, all of us knows someone close by, a member of the family, a friend or a neighbor with cancer. And no matter how small my contribution is, by donating my yew I try to do the best I can. 

I hope you can collect Yew in your country too. Will you help?

Yew. The new shoots are the best.

After pruning..............

.....the hedge looks neat again.

The collecting point.

The banner to interest others.

There is a lot of yew needed.

New followers a warm welcome.

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  1. A great cause I wish we had something like this here. I'll ask around and see if anyone in the neighborhood or garden clubs have heard of it. My father had cancer and the center that helped us was wonderful, maybe they've heard of yew collection.

    1. Lovely photos. thanks for sharng at

  2. The more I think about it, the more I wish we had something similar here. That's a wonderful idea.


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