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Looking at Box Topiary Designs from a Different Perspective

As I had my tall tripod ladder with me the other day, I thought it would be interesting to see what a couple of designs I work on look like from above. Symmetry is important with this first box topiary design. The last couple of years I have been working on developing the curves and leaf shapes to match up as closely as possible. The domes have required some careful clipping to achieve consistency with their sizes. Still requires more work but starting to make progress. Unfortunately blight is a constant issue with these box plants. But with the help…

Yew Hedge Restoration

Removing Vertical Growth When Restoring Yew Hedges

I’ve been working on restoring the shape to a yew hedge this week so thought it would be a good opportunity to show the importance of cutting out vertical growth. This technique applies to restoring both yew hedges and yew topiary. If a yew has been left untrimmed, or has been badly clipped in the past, then thick, long stems can start to grow up on the outside of the hedge. These will thicken over time, causing the hedge to bulge and sag. Ignoring these stems and running the hedge trimmer or shears up over this vertical growth can create…

box deer damage

Oh Deer – What’s Happened to the Box Topiary

I’m bit of a perfectionist when it comes to topiary and enjoy achieving beautiful curves and straight lines with my work. I thought I had nearly achieved this with one of the designs I clip every year. The box has always battled with blight outbreaks so it was a challenge. But with the support of the excellent on-site gardening team, who have been treating the blight and feeding the box, there was enough healthy growth to create some satisfying curves and straight lines. Sadly the local wildlife don’t seem to share my love of topiary. Every time I return to…

box blight

Managing Box Blight Outbreaks with a Fungicide

Autumn this year has been very wet and warm here in the UK. These are perfect conditions for fungal growth and outbreaks of box blight have been very common. Outbreaks can occur on the top or sides of the box and are identifiable by the browning and blackening of the foliage. These outbreaks occur almost overnight. The damage caused can be minimised if treated early so best to check box plants regularly. I spray a fungicide on to an affected area as soon as I see the first signs of a box blight outbreak. Hopefully this will slow the spread…

Wibbly Wobbly Yew Hedges at Montacute House

I took the opportunity to visit Montacute House gardens when travelling home through Somerset the other day because I wanted to see in person their beautiful yew hedges. Montacute House is magnificent – a fine example of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture. The gardens would have been a formal design, with yew hedges clipped to perfect straight lines, flat tops and precise right angle corners. Although the formal layout of the gardens remain, the yew hedges are now over 4 metres high, free-form, organic shapes and affectionally called the wibbly wobbly by the Montacute House gardeners. This style of yew hedge is…