Monday, 9 January 2012


I am drawn to topiary gardens, usually the green shapes, mounds and patterns an excitement and build up to a central focal point or encased sculpture, or magnificent stone carving.  I would like to include it in my garden in some way, I love gardens that are all green, where texture, shape of leaf and different shades of green make the beauty, and I think I will need to create some hedge boundaries, walls or screens.


Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants, by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and subshrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, perhaps geometric or fanciful.  As an art form it is a type of living sculpture.  The word derives frm the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, topiarius, a creator of topia, or 'places'.

I rather like the idea of free clipping and shaping, although it seems that you can buy all manner of wire frame shapes, as guides, which offer lots of ideas and food for thought, such as at Topiary Garden.  If I do use a guide, likely I'll make my own wire shape round which to grow some ivy, which produces good results in only a few months.

Commonly used for Topiary are Yew and Box, but for a faster effect Bay, Hornbeam, Beech and Hawthorne are suitable.  Whatever plant is used the rules for making topiary are the same, grow to the height you want, keep feeding and clipping - then the artistry begins.

I have an old pair of hand sheep shears which will be perfect to make a start.

Of course hugely inspiring are the Overhanging Gardens of Marqueysaac in France.

And at Washington Old Hall, Tyne & Wear.

And the ever exuberant Levens Hall in Cumbria.


  1. That basket weave topiary is amazing, would like to see it in a larger context. Topiary makes sense in a sculptor's garden as it will be a good foil for your stone sculpture.


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