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Mature Beech Topiary with Personality

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I use the social media network Instagram to share photos of my work. I enjoy the feedback and interaction with other topiary enthusiasts from all over the world. Photos of a project that always have a good response is six mature standard beech balls. They form a visual barrier between a garden and the neighbouring paddock.


The history of the beech balls is not fully known. The beech trees existed when the current garden owner purchased the property 30 years ago. I would guess the intention was to create a pleached beech hedge. But the creative flair of the current owner’s late husband meant the beech were rounded.

The last four years I have been responsible for maintaining this beech topiary and have been working on developing their curved shapes.

Each beech ball is different. Some are becoming more oval in shape as their neighbours exert their dominance. I like to emphasise this individuality when trimming, rather than trying to achieve a consistent ball shape. I do however keep them at the same height from the base of the topiary ball to the top, in relation to the sloping ground.

Each beech ball has its own personality, much like you find with old yew topiary. Their quirkiness adds more interest than a row of standard trees. Every September I feel like I’m visiting old friends when I go back to trim and shape them. Haven’t actually given them names yet but I will admit I do have my favourites.

By James Todman

Topiary Specialist based in The Cotswolds, UK.

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