The Art of Topiary
Topiary is the art of trimming and pruning plants to create a spcific shape. These plants are usually perennials, which means they will live for several years, sometimes even decades. Plants popularly chosen for topiary art are fast-growing, bushy shrubs that can withstand heavy pruning.
This form of garden art dates back to Roman times in Europe, with popular topiary shapes resembling obelisks. Obelisks were large standing stones that were carved to have the shape of a pointed egg or elongated water drop. This shape is still popular even today. Hedges are a simple form of topiary, as are small trees that are trimmed to be round or square in shape.
Training the plants over a wire frame allows the artist to create a number of shapes, even humanoid figures such as the wizard topiary design, shown below. The base of the wizard’s hat is part of the wire frame and is probably made from wood.
Different types of plants create different effects in a topiary design. In this design of a little girl running, the girl’s hair has been created with a long-leafed plant.
Using plants of differing colors can add interest and appeal. Note how the plants used for the elephants body are a different color from the elephant’s tusks.
Topiary art often takes the form of geometric shapes. Straight lines are not often found in nature, so square, rectangular or triangular topiaries can give a garden a unique geometric appeal, especially when offset by round or oval topiary shapes.
Topiary designs can follow any form that the artist chooses. This spiral design, created by continuously pruning the shrub into a spiral shape, can be an attractive show piece in a garden landscape.
Topiary artworks are a popular attraction in public gardens and garden centers. The shapes and designs are based on the imagination and creativity of the topiary artist. Below are some more pictures of gardens and parks that include plant sculptures in their design.