U-Topiary – Five Rules For Creating Hedge Art

Yes. It’s me again. I’ve been a little busy recently (weddings, parties, you know how it is) and suddenly realised I’ve not blogged for over a week. Yeeks! How you must have missed me and my in-depth gardening knowledge (fingers firmly crossed behind my back).

So, since it’s been a while, rather than spout off the usual arrant nonsense about my long-running love affair with prosecco and the vagaries of my lively, thriving  and charming social life, I thought I might try and offer something vaguely useful. Well… sort of. I’m no Drew Hardy or Dick Roberts (though I am much prettier).

I noticed with interest that Drew the other day in his blog Bowled Out by the Rain but Rolling in the Isles mention his neighbours somewhat worryingly shaped hedge and it did get me thinking about what happens when wild abandonment, artistic freedom and an off-kilter imagination meet in the blades of a good quality hedgetrimmer. 

In fact, that’s pretty much my starting point.  Don’t try creating a Box Hedge Venus De Milo with Some blunt old thing that has lain in the back of the shed since the Christmas before last gathering rust and dust. It’s not is not going work. Your topiary will not come to life if you don’t keep your blades sharp and use a good tool. Like this one…

The Tanaka TCH22E-BP2 Petrol Hedgetrimmer - Top for Topiary
The Tanaka TCH22E-BP2 Petrol Hedgetrimmer – Top for Topiary

So. That’s my my Rule Number 1. Use A Good Hedgetrimmer. Simple innit? Now Drew’s neighbour may be slightly loopy, but at least he has an imagination. Is there anything worse than dull topiary? Sometimes imagination doesn’t take to the fore. I mean, there’s a lot you can do. Animals, people, exciting shapes, and then you get something like this…

"Brilliant. Bushes that look look like shapeless lumps"
“Brilliant. Bushes that look look like shapeless lumps. You must be so proud.”

Imagination running wild huh? So of course Rule Number 2 is Be Interesting. Give us a squirrel, a boxing match, Daenerys Targaryen setting loose a dragon on the evil Lannisters. Sugar lumps are not interesting shapes!

Of course, on the other end of the scale are shapes that really have no place in the garden. It takes skill, craft, patience and a good pair of double hedgetrimmers to make something you are really proud of. It takes the mind of a fourteen year old schoolboy sniggering behind a copy of NUTS to make something you should be slightly concerned about…

It's a what? A wizard's hat and two...? rubbish, remove it now.
“It’s a what? A wizard’s hat and two…? nonsense remove it now.”

Someone actually thought that was a good idea. Stylish house too. Drew’s neighbour no doubt carrying out more geurilla topiary. Don’t do it. You are a fully grown adult wielding a sharp, valuable and expressive garden tool. Make it count. Rule Number 3 . No Rude Shapes Please.

Now. When you really get going you can start thinking big. This next example is one of my favourite examples of topiaristic ambition. No squirrels and stags for this artist who may just have come back from a safari holiday…

No jokes about trunks please
“No jokes about tree trunks please.”

Fabulous huh? So that’s my Rule Number 4. Be Ambitious. Show us what you can do, amaze us, amuse us take our breath away.

And finally, be appropriate to where you are.  I mean. take the elephants above. They work because the scale is right, it’s a big space. Would a herd of elephants squashed behind the washing line in a suburban garden work? I think not. Choose your setting. A topiary fairy tale princess in a fairy tale theme park or a palace garden would be good, Peter Pan topiary would look good in Kensington Gardens. But who thought this was a good idea?

What's a giant Toblerone doing here?
“What’s a giant Toblerone doing here?”

I’m all for representations of famous sweetmeats, and it might look great in some chocolate based theme park but this is out of place amongst the ruins of this lovely old castle. So. My Rule Number 5 is Choose the Right Shape for the Right Setting.

And that’s it from me this week. I hope this has amused you a little and made you think about your topiary skills. For more advice and information have a look at our hedgetrimmer pages here.  There;s a great selection and loads of advice. Or look up our hedgetrimmer buying guides here, on MowHow.   See ya.  Holly.

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