Topiary addicts of the world unite! Topiary, or living green sulptures as I prefer to call them, is the art of shaping plants into geometric or intricate shapes. Topiary has a rich history dating back to Roman times. It requires vision, commitment, patience and skill. Although it is outside the realm of my current expertise, I have begun some fledgling efforts which are very satisfying but are not ready for pubilc consumption :).
The beautiful photo above is from Ladew Gardens in Baltimore. It incorporates knot gardens around the clipped hedges to stunning effect.
One of our most popular requests for landscape design is the inclusion of Spiral Arborvitaes which are prolific in the home garden. Ironically, one of our most frequent maintenance requests is to "rescue" neglected Spiral Arborvitaes which become lumps without proper care. Topiary is not what one would consider low maintenance. If a plant is left to it's own devices it will revert to it's natural form. If you have succumbed to topiary love, then you must keep your pruners handy as annual maintenance will be required o ensure that your landscape dollars aren't wasted.
If you're interested in sharpening your topiary skills, check out this article from the Royal Horticulture Society which is a great primer.
In the interim, I stick to purchasing topiary. Thankfully, love is not restricted to how-to and topiary is an optical banquet worthy of contemplation and adoration. I find it fascinating that it's only limits seem to be our imagination.
Check out this article from Architectural Digest: Garden Party. It explores the best public topiary with some eye popping pictures but best of all gives you new gardens to love and visit, stateside and across the pond.
One of the coolest things about topiary...it flies in the face of winter :)