Types of Topiary
Topiary is the name given to closely clipped evergreens. It usually consists of single shrubs that are pruned to assume a clearly defined and particular shape. Here we’ll take a look at some of the most popular shapes that are available. Naturally you are not confined to these shapes and you may choose to grow and shape your own shrubs armed with a sharp pair of shears and a little imagination. Almost everything about gardening offers the opportunity to express yourself and this is never more true than with topiary. Like pruning espaliers there’s something calming and therapeutic about working with plants. There are few things in the garden that offer such instant gratification, within a matter of minutes it is possible to turn a neglected shrub into to a neat ball, box or perhaps something a little grander.
Topiary has long been recognised for the character and charm it adds to almost any garden. It can take many forms ranging from simple hedging to the more ambitious (and expensive) parterres and mazes. Even the tiniest front gardens can accommodate a little topiary and a pair of columns either side of the front door can make for an attractive entrance. Shaped Lavender or rosemary add a further dimension with their inviting scent.
Perhaps the biggest attribute is it’s adaptability. Topiary fits across a range of garden styles from the traditional to contemporary. It can be a bold focal point central to a garden’s design or play an equally important role in the form of soft and subtle mounds amongst architectural plants like flax.Six Tips for Maintaining Healthy Topiary
• Make sure that your shears or secateurs are sharp and clean before you start trimming.
• Cut topiary on cool and wet days but avoid cutting in winter when there’s a risk of frost.
• Avoid cutting in direct sunlight.
• It should only be necessary to trim once or twice a year.
• If cutting large leaf specimens, like Bay, use secateurs to avoid cutting into leaves.
• Remember to compost your leaves and twigs.If your shrubs have blight then these should be discarded.
The Best Plants for Topiary
A large number of plants can be shaped using shears. Perhaps the most popular is Buxus, commonly known as boxwood, which is simple to shape and maintains a year round vibrant colour. If you’re planning to feature buxus in your garden take care to avoid overcrowding. Buxus is averse to water-logged soil and consequently is well suited to growing in pots and containers. Feeding container grown plants is essential and the occasional top dressing of fresh compost should keep them healthy. Plenty of air between plants will help avoid blight. Another popular choice is yew which is easily shaped and very resilient. Whilst these might be the most popular there’s plenty more choice and the following might be suitable alternatives for your garden: Hawthorn, Privet, Holly and Bay.