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Topiary Transforms the Typical Garden

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When art comes to arborists, the outcome can mean the craziest topiary shapes. For anyone that has ever seen the movie “Edward Scissorhands”, you probably have some idea of the shapes that can be produced from clipping or pruning trees. However, the skill and artistry of modern day arborists can produce the most magnificent and truly craziest topiary shapes.

What is topiary?

In essence, topiary is the artistic hedging, clipping, pruning and trimming of ornamental trees, shrubs or hedges into works of art. Nowadays, the artistry is no longer confined to simple geometric shapes, arches or basic animals but can result in artistic scenes such as a cowboy riding a horse at a rodeo, or incredibly complicated scenes of geometric patterns. Topiary shapes can produce the appearance of objects such as butterflies, and not just all green butterflies but it can include the beautiful colours of the butterfly within the topiary artistry.

In China, there are topiary gardens that play out entire scenes such as two people building planting a garden in front of their home, or gardens that have transformed into sculptures of Chinese buildings.

Topiary gardens can be privately done in your own home, and does not have to amount to impressionistic works of art. Perhaps you would like to install a hedge for privacy or create a garden that covers up a neighbouring brick wall?

Adopting topiary techniques can add formality to the garden with a splash of style, and can create focal points for visitors. Modern day gardens are all about defined shrubs and hedging, that can direct a visitor’s view away from the hidden fence and towards your green garden.


Types of shrubs useful for topiary techniques

shutterstock_184064309Typically boxwood species such as the Japanese buxum or other shrubs such as yew, privet, and myrtle are popular for shaping and trimming into topiary trees. Boxwood is the traditional and probably best shrub to use in Queensland’s climate, particularly if you are starting out on topiary methods. This shrub is evergreen, can grow in full sun or the shade, it can withstand regular clippings and trimmings and is drought tolerant.

However any plant that grows well in your garden could be a good candidate for topiary techniques.


shutterstock_146686502The level of maintenance required depends on the rate of growth of the plant, the seasons, and where the plant is positioned. However, if your garden is in a sunny position and typically has good growth all year round then trimming would normally be required every 4 to 6 weeks. Any ordinary garden tends to need attending to every 4 to 6 weeks anyway, so trimming your topiary tree may be just one of a number of tasks. Once the shape is created, if the plant is trimmed regularly it does not take a long time to maintain. However, the longer the plant is left, and the more it outgrows its design and the longer it will take to get back into shape.

DIY topiary

shutterstock_107614673If you want to try your own hand at topiary perhaps start with a basic shape. You may want to install a topiary frame. These are pre-formed wire frames that can guide you to clip shrubs into interesting shapes more easily. You can pick a small, medium or large sized framed. You place the frame over the shrub and once the shrub has grown and filled the frame, you can clip it to shape using the frame as the cutting guide.

While starting out on topiary can be a calming and almost meditative hobby, if you are considering using it on a wider scale for your garden or employing trickier techniques then employing the services of a gardener or tree specialist is recommended. They can provide useful advice as to what to grow, and can turn areas of your garden into works of art.

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