With its precise clipping and sculptural shapes, topiary has the power to turn a garden into a work of art. Whether you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to a formal garden, or a unique focal point to a contemporary landscape, topiary can help bring your garden design to the next level.
What is Topiary?
Topiary is the art of shaping and trimming evergreen trees and shrubs into ornamental shapes, such as animals or geometric forms. This is typically done using a combination of pruning techniques and wire support structures.
Why add Topiary to your garden?
Topiary can successfully be used to add visual interest and structure to a garden. The practice of shaping and clipping trees into shapes can create a sense of formality and elegance in a landscape. It can also be used to create focal points or draw attention to certain areas of a garden. Additionally, topiary can be used to create barriers or dividers within a garden space should you need it.
What style garden is Topiary suited to?
Topiary can be incorporated into a variety of garden styles, but it is commonly used in formal gardens and traditional landscapes. It is often seen in English gardens, French parterres, and Italian renaissance gardens, where the precise clipping and shaping of plants can add to the overall symmetry and design of the space. Topiary can also be used in contemporary gardens to add a sculptural element. It can be suited to small or large gardens, and is often used to enhance the style of the house in which it surrounds.
What plants are best suited for Topiary?
Some of the most commonly used plants for topiary are:
- Boxwood (Buxus spp.) – This is a slow-growing, evergreen plant that can be easily shaped into various forms, making it a popular choice for topiary.
- Yew (Taxus spp.) – Another slow-growing, evergreen plant that is well suited to shaping and clipping.
- Myrtle (Myrtus spp.) – A Mediterranean evergreen shrub that can grow dense foliage, which makes it well suited for shaping.
- Holly (Ilex spp.) – A slow-growing, evergreen shrub that can be shaped into various forms and can add color to the topiary with its red berries.
- Privet (Ligustrum spp.) – Although this is a fast-growing, deciduous plant it can be shaped and clipped easily.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – A fragrant evergreen shrub that can be shaped and clipped into various forms.
- Lavender (Lavandula spp.) – A fragrant evergreen shrub that can be shaped and clipped into various forms, but it needs well-drained soil and full sun.
Topiary gardens to visit:
There are several notable gardens in the UK that feature topiary as a central element of their design. Some examples that are well worth a visit include:
- Levens Hall, Cumbria – This garden has a collection of over 100 topiary figures, including animals, birds, and geometric shapes, set in a picturesque, 17th-century landscape.
- Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucestershire – This garden is renowned for its extensive use of topiary, with hedges and shapes defining the various garden rooms, and adding structure to the garden.
- Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, Devon – This garden features a collection of topiary, including a set of giant chess pieces and a topiary walkway.
- Stourhead, Wiltshire – This garden is home to a collection of topiary, including a formal parterre, geometric shapes, and a topiary garden with a range of different shapes and sizes.
- Hampton Court Palace, London – The palace’s famous maze, the topiary in the gardens, and the privet hedges along the paths are all examples of topiary that can be found at this location.
- Chatsworth House, Derbyshire – This garden features a wide range of topiary, including a topiary parterre, a topiary walk, and a range of topiary animals and shapes.
These are just a few examples of the many beautiful gardens in the UK that feature topiary. Each of these gardens have unique examples of topiary that are worth visiting, and there are many more gardens across the country that showcase topiary in different ways.