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Looking at Box Topiary Designs from a Different Perspective

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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 of the gardening team at the property, we are managing to minimise any outbreaks during the damp spring and autumn months. This gives the box the opportunity to bounce back in the drier summer months, with the help of a Topbuxus ‘Health Mix’ feed every 4-6 weeks.

The other issue is deer (or possibly fox) jumping through the leaf designs and hedges. I wrote about this in a previous post ‘Oh Deer – What’s Happened to the Box Topiary‘. Nothing much can be done about these visits from the local wildlife but thankfully the damage is not too bad and can be repaired.

The second box topiary design is one of my favourites, because of the combination of sharp lines and soft curves. Creates a challenge when clipping but can look very effective.

For me this view from above is really interesting because you don’t get this perspective when working at ground level. I am pleased with all the straight lines, especially the box hedging following the rills down to the square pond. It’s important to keep the width consistent along a straight stretch of box hedge like this, especially when it is such and integral part of a design. The curves are more forgiving but there are one or two that will need some extra attention when clipping time comes round next year.

I need to give a hat tip to the on-site gardening team, led by Ed Alderman, who have done amazing work with the grass areas in the design. About 6 weeks ago they removed five 1-tonne builders bags of moss and the grass has recovered beautifully.

The hedge enclosing the garden at the bottom is Purple Beech (fagus sylvatica purpurea). During the summer the leaves are a rich dark purple and in autumn develop the stunning orange, yellow and gold hues. Although classed as a deciduous hedge, many of these leaves will be retained over winter, taking on a wonderful bronze colour. I can’t recommend beech, and purple beech, enough for hedging- it’s a fantastic plant with year round interest.

By James Todman

Topiary Specialist based in The Cotswolds, UK.

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