Monday, 4 June 2012

Getting close to topiary

Great Dixter (photo by Juju)

As is probably apparent from my previous posts - I love topiary in all its shapes and forms whether clipped shapes, knot gardens, parterres. Topiary can be magical, ancient, atmospheric, fun, stimulating and visually stunning. It is also divisive - the nineteenth century gardener William Robinson considered it 'an outrage on natural form' and 'hideous' and which he felt disfigured great gardens. It goes in and out of fashion - and although much appreciated in historic gardens - it now even seems to be on trend as they say - appearing in several show gardens at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. However, fashion nowadays seems to be for cloud shapes or strong geometric shapes rather than the peacocks, squirrels, cockerels of the past.

Cliveden (National Trust) photo by Juju

Brodsworth Hall (English Heritage) photo by Juju

Last week I attended a one day course on topiary at Langley Boxwood Nursery. What a great day - beautiful sunshine, good company, great teachers and surrounded by topiary. It was so interesting learning about - and seeing - different species of box and then being shown by the experts how to do topiary. We were let loose in the field to practise on large overgrown plants and then got our own container plants to hone our technique.

Langley Boxwood Nursery

I really enjoyed creating a spiral and it now has pride of place in our garden. I also started to create a peacock but that is definitely a work in progress...