Topiaries have always intrigued me for their personalities and purpose in a garden. Walt Disney World was my first exposure to topiaries. Everywhere you turn around, there are carefully quaffed bushes and trees transformed into Mickey, Pluto and Donald. Who did this? How long did it take? Could I ever do something like this?
Over the years, my curiosity grew when I would go to beautiful gardens in Botanical Gardens, or for certain Versailles and Buckingham Palace. I have spent a lot of time studying their shapes and trying to figure how they are created. Most topiaries are sculpted out of boxwood plants which are dense, slow growing hardy plants. However, if you didn’t know, the boxwood species have suffered a terrible blight over the passed decade. Some places can no longer grow the plant at all. Yikes! Death O’ the Topiary.
What I like best about topiaries is easy. They give a garden balance, and a good focal point. When done well, they can even be a touch of whimsy, ie. Pluto, Minnie and Daffy? Some people will put a topiary in beautiful containers and they can be moved around just make sure there is a watering feed. I learned the the hard way on this point.
When I moved to my current house, there were lots of mature bushes that one year, I decided to play “Mrs. Scissorhand.” I have several pairs of clippers (kind of like paint brushes, I’m obsessed) Some are for big branches, tall branches and some for baby bear branches. I found myself turning camellia bushes, potacarpus and shillings into newly shaped beings to add a new dimension to my yard. Actually, I loved doing it and other than ongoing maintenance (sigh) they all still make me happy. If you haven’t spent anytime with a pair of yard clippers, it’s very therapeutic.
No, there are no magical characters in my yard and I am lucky to keep a sphere shape round and a squared shape even. It’s all okay with me as they start to grow out of shape quickly anyway. At the end of my gardening, there is always time to paint. And yes, that is why I paint a lot of topiaries. It rounds out my gardening and besides...
I create whatever style and shape I want.
Most of all, I can’t kill them.
Here are a few Garden Varieties: